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FIFTY years ago in England sexual conduct, when taught at all, 
was inculcated by moral maxims alone. Parents counselled 
chastity, and left the rest to " natural instinct," without suspecting 
that instinct is not a guide to social behaviour. The primary aim 
was the preservation of" innocence" in the young by a compulsory 
ignorance. In my youth we were told that the wonders of reproduc- 
tion were improper subjects of inquiry. Our eager normal curiosity 
was hushed, but not stifled. The mysteries grew enormously, 
and occupied the mind with futile bewilderment and speculation. 
Enlightenment was entirely banned in the home. We learned the 
sacred truths of life at haphazard, casually, furtively, and in the 
process we drank from poisoned wells and our souls sickened. 

Sex was early associated in the juvenile mind with the unclean, 
the pathological and the repellent things of human life. Curiosity 
and disgust waged a strange conflict. We garnered fantasies and 
falsehoods instead of facts. Those of us who were encouraged to 
respect for married love were perplexed by the attitude of our 
elders regarding "sex." We were taught that the "flesh," the 
human body, was "animal,'' and that the aim of virtue was annihila- 
tion of "lower desires," the very instincts that arose formidably at 
the period when the spiritual nature began to awaken. The power 
and the splendour of the love of the sexes were not revealed to us 
by sympathetic home teaching. Our ideas of " love '- and " sex !! 
were contradictory, misleading and frequently demoralising, The 
sparse knowledge gained at the mother's knee was vulgarly dis- 
torted and supplemented by conversations with others who had 
been reared in the customary tradition and were supposed to be 
" innocent." 

One of the supreme difficulties in educational guidance in sexual 
morality and hygiene is the preparatory expulsion from the mind 
of the pupil of these preconceived ideas, idle fables, and indecent 
notions learned from ignorant and vicious sources. The state of 
'innocence" is an impossibility among modern boys and girls. 


Even in those rare instances where the system of protection 
through ignorance appears to be effective, there has been no pro- 
tection against the spontaneous awakening of impulse- We can- 
not assert positively that there is no sexuality in the very youngest 
of children. Signs are evident in many cases in infancy. Apart 
from all external influence, there is the probability of peripheral 
stimulation arousing emotion and manifestation. 

Sex education is not a mere question of pedagogics. It is a 
main part of education throughout the whole of life. Sexual love 
touches morality and hygiene at almost every point. Inquiry into 
the most massive emotion experienced by humanity is an absolute 
essential of sociology. 

In writing this Text-book, a task involving specific difficulties, I 
have endeavoured to systematise a method of teaching which 
will be helpful to parents and all who have the care of children and 
adolescents. It is obvious that there cannot be a strictly formu- 
lated single mode of instruction ; I hope that what I have written 
may assist in preparing the way for wide parental and scholastic 
effort in this urgent educational reform. I trust that this volume 
may impress some unpersuaded minds with the importance of the 
subject discussed. 

The Lessons for young children and those of school age are 
indications and suggestions for the consideration of teachers who 
are puzzled concerning the method of conveying instruction to 
boys and girls of different ages. This is not a book for the young, 
but for the instructor. It has been arranged to supply a basis of 
sex education, and the Lessons given may suggest many others. 
The discretion of the parent or teacher must always be exercised 
in accord with the child's sex, age and temperament. 

I shall be glad if readers who are interested in sex education, or 
those who desire information upon special phases of the subjects 
discussed, will communicate with me. I wish to thank the teachers 
and correspondents who have kindly assisted me with suggestions 
and data. 



July, 1918. 












VI. PHYSIOLOGY . . . . .117 


II. THE SCHOOL ..... 146 


IV. THE BOOK . . . , .171 






" FOR the due discharge of parental functions, the proper guidance 
is to be found only in Science." HERBERT SPENCER. 

" THERE is no creature more liable than man to be spoiled by bad 
training on the one hand, or to be improved by good training on the 
other ; and if the present age has any good reason to hope, as we 
are inclined to think it has, that it contains within itself the germs 
of a higher development of the race than the earth has yet seen, 
such hope can grow only from the serious concern with which both 
parents and teachers shall bring themselves into a reverential 
attitude before the great vital forces of Nature, physical and 

" IT may be at last that sexual love that tired angel who through 
the ages has presided over the march of humanity, with distraught 
eyes, and feather-shafts broken, and wings drabbled in the mires 
of lust and greed, and golden locks caked over with the dust of 
injustice and oppression till those looking at him have sometimes 
cried in terror, * He is the Evil and not the Good of life,' and have 
sought, if it were not possible, to exterminate him shall yet, at 
last, bathed from the mire and dust of ages in the streams of 
friendship and freedom, leap upwards, with white wings spread, 
resplendent in the sunshine of a distant future the essentially 
Good and Beautiful of human existence." OLIVE SCHREINER. 






THE moral and rational direction of the erotic, or sexual, 
impulse, through rightful education in the home and the 
school, is now recognised by most thoughtful minds as an 
essential of social ethics and national hygiene. During the 
past fifty years the need for this important instruction in 
the conduct of life has been urged by reformers, clergymen, 
physicians and teachers in Europe and America. Parents, 
in an ever-increasing number, are becoming solicitous for 
the right guidance of children in the understanding, the 
control and the sublimation of the sex emotion. There is 
an unprecedented demand for enlightenment in this long- 
neglected field of personal, social, and racial health. The 
methods of withholding sane knowledge, obscuring the 
great facts of human life, and meeting inquiry with 
indifference, evasion or falsehood have been tried and 
found injurious. 

Ignorance in this matter has proved one of the strongest 
allies of vice and disease. Prudery has never fostered 
purity. The condemnation of a natural spirit of curiosity 
has not annihilated curiosity, but transformed it into 
furtive prurience. Impure, vulgar and pernicious sources 
of information have been substituted for objective 
scientific teaching; and the whole subject of sex love and 


reproduction has tended to become a morbid preoccupation 
of distorted minds. 

In the civilised countries it is almost rare to find a man 
or woman who has developed rationally or sanely in know- 
ledge of the vital instinct. Civilisation intensifies the 
secondary sexual characters, and accentuates and elaborates 
the complexity of the emotion of love. It has never been 
simple to direct and inhibit the most powerful of passions 
experienced by mankind. Progress has been a constant 
repression, involving conflict, and giving rise to stern com- 
bat between social custom and moral ideas and strongly 
vehement primitive desires. Refinement does not destroy 
the force of this universal impulsion. All the artifices and 
the culture of the past great civilisations complicated the 
relation of sex to society. 

Anthropology and psychology, and more especially the 
investigation of the subconscious, or unconscious, self, are 
demonstrating that the fear of sex has never been absent 
from the minds of men. The association of sex with the 
holy, or the forbidden, and the widespread ascription of 
danger in the union of the sexes, cannot be banished from 
the human brain in a few generations. Very slowly we are 
approaching, for the first time in man's history, a sane 
intellectual perception of the sexual impulse. The more 
widely the subject is studied the stronger becomes the 
conviction that an eternal ignorance has gravely misled 

All the rigorous endeavours to ignore the sway of sex, 
to annihilate desires, to expel nature, and to extol celibacy 
as the highest spiritual ideal have proved unavailing. 
These efforts of total suppression have often induced ab- 
normality and vice ; for the way of sublimation is not 
in attempted extinction, but in transference. The very 
teaching of chastity has been widely nugatory through a 
misapprehension of physiological laws, mental processes 
and manifold internal and external factors influencing 
sexual development. 

Dread of the force of sex has had a large share in the 
framing of moral and social codes. There is, however, 
always the risk that fear may become morbid or patho- 
logical. And there can be no question that this psycho- 


neurotic anxiety is a very common symptom among the 

ice of tin !<; >i se .ual manifestations 

arising from I may :il* Hie following 

from a letter to Professor Stanley Hall, written by a well- 
known doctor of philosophy : 

" My entire youth, from six to eighteen, was made 
miserable from lack of knowledge that anyone who knew 
anything of the nature of puberty might have given. This 
long sense of defect, dread of operation, shame and worry 
has left an indelible mark." 

Few men and women of to-day are entirely free from 
sex phobias or safe from psychic sexual affronts or conflicts. 
The untaught child or youth is dangerously exposed to 
these secret fears and to the chances of shock, sometimes 
leading to a minor neurosis or a life of mental conflict. 
For example, it is well known that the first appearance of 
the monthly function alarms a great number of uninstructed 
girls. In numerous cases described by physicians hysteria 
began at this crisis, and in others sensitive girls have 
attempted suicide under the delusion that they were 
assailed with a terrible disease. Probably, in ordinary 
normal instances, the uninformed girl endures considerable 
anxiety and bewilderment at the first menstrual period. 

The dreads and frights to which inexperienced brides are 
the prey are an exceedingly common cause of psychic 
injury. The agonies of morally-predisposed lads, wrought 
by sudden spontaneous longings, and by the phenomenon 
of the nocturnal dream and automatic emission, can scarcely 
be exaggerated. 

The new system of psychotherapeutics (mind-healing) 
instituted by Freud, and employed by Jung, Bjerre, 
Ferenczi, Brill, Ernest Jones and other mental pathologists, 
is enlarging our knowledge of the dominant part that sex 
plays in human psychology. Psychologists of eminence 
are satisfied, after many years of research, that one of the 
chief sources of the minor mental disturbances that afflict 
millions of men and women of our times is to be sought 
in erotic complexes. These obscure longings, fears and 


ungratified wishes may appear quite unrelated to the sexual 
impulse. Nevertheless, in the mature view of scientific 
inquirers, there is always a lesion, a psychic injury con- 
nected with sex, or a fixation of infantile impressions. 

Although some of the exponents of the new psychology 
do not accept, in an unqualified degree, this unvarying 
causation of neurosis, they are all profoundly impressed by 
the powerful influence of the sexual libido upon thought 
and action that may seem entirely devoid of such influence. 
Whenever we encounter morbid anxiety, or " anxiety- 
neurosis," we shall find, on the evidence of the psycho- 
analysts, " a reaction against repressed sexuality." The 
" key to the problem of the psychoneuroses," it is main- 
tained, can only be found by those who accept the sexual 
cause of the pathological states. " The erotic conflict," 
states Jung, of Zurich University, " is the key to the con- 
ception of neurosis." "The question which troubles the 
patient is whether you like it or not the ' sexual ques- 
tion/ or, more precisely, the problem of present-day sexual 

Those who boast that love conflicts do not trouble them, 
that the sexual question is " nonsense," and that they 
have no sexual emotions are quite unconscious that a host 
of nervous signs, and even some physical symptoms, reveal 
quite plainly to the psychotherapist that " the great 
conflict " is the origin of their trouble, though ascribed by 
them to other sources. 1 " Only a few " can escape this 
common human perplexity. 

" Neurosis is probably altogether impossible with healthy 
physiological marital life. . . . The major amount of the 
nerves and hysteria of the present day may be traced to 
faulty sexual hygiene." 2 No evidence is now wanting to 
support the view that sexual ignorance is a fruitful cause 
of neurotic and psychic disorder. 

A single misstatement on the part of the parent may 
shatter a child's faith in the parental wisdom and honesty. 
We need a complete candour. Facts are the only secure 
basis for moral codes and the only guide in the hygiene 
of the sex life. It is just the ignoring of facts that leads 

1 Analytical Psychology. 

8 The Healthy Marriage. G. T. Wrench, M.D., B.Sc. 


us into neurosis, perversion and vice. " Shic4ding " the 
young may, and often does, defeat its object very disas- 
trously. One chance conversation with an attractive but 
vicious or vulgar companion may entirely obliterate all 
the parental influence. " Facts " that is to say, scientific 
knowledge must always be the surest protection of youth 
or adult. 

The sex development of the girl, especially at the period 
of puberty, is more complicated than that of the boy. 
Yet it is precisely the girl whose sex education is most 
neglected. That the methods of imparting the necessary 
instruction must often vary to some extent in regard to 
the sex of the pupil will be admitted by most teachers. 
But any suggestion that the truth should be withheld from 
girls, by reason of their superior feminine modesty, can only 
be regarded as reactionary. Among all the writers who 
may lay claim to attention in this matter I can only recall 
one, Professor Miinsterberg, who affirms that girls should 
not receive any instruction. Undoubtedly the character 
and the manner of sex education are of supremely vital 
importance ; but the enlightenment must certainly be as 
sound in the case of girls as in boys. 

There may indeed be excellent reasons why the education 
of girls in sexual physiology and hygiene should be wider 
than that of their brothers. The burden of parentage falls 
chiefly upon the female sex, not only in married life, but 
from the pre-pubertal stage until the menopause. Sex is 
more generally diffused in woman than in man. She is 
destined to conceive and bear as well as to spiritual love, 
and to these ends she is forced to endure physiological 
disabilities. Moreover, as the first and earliest teachers 
of the young, women have an immense responsibility 
towards their children and to the community. It is 
therefore very important that the mothers should be well 
taught before they essay to teach. Furthermore, love 
being even more essential for the psychic and physical 
well-being of woman than of man, and as her main interests 
are concentrated upon the family life and the tending of 
children, her knowledge of the principles of healthy pro- 
creation and the rearing of the young should be as complete 
as possible ; and the sex question in all its bearings upon the 



home, the morals of the young, and the laws and customs of 
society should be a question of paramount significance. 

The sexual problem exists for all of us, and although 
civilisation intensifies the problem, it provides also, by the 
extension of knowledge, science and experience, the means 
for grappling with the difficulty. No one who has a sense 
of responsibility towards the children born to him can evade 
this question. The average conscientious parent wishes 
that his son and daughter may fare better through the 
dangers and trials of life than he has fared. It is his desire 
that his child may grow up sane in mind and sound in 
body, well equipped for the inexorable struggle of modern 
life. The ordinary system of education provides only a 
few of the essentials of such equipment. A boy or girl 
may pass years at school and college and remain in late 
adolescence completely ignorant of the structure of their 
bodies and the physical functions. At the onset of puberty, 
when bodily and psychic manifestations of a novel nature 
intrude themselves, and lead to inevitable speculation and 
reflection, the youth and the maiden are interned for the 
greater part of each year with members of their own sex 
and separated from the parents. It is now that the soul of 
the young awakens. This is the supreme hour for learning 
the first important lessons of life. Can it be said that the 
average boy or girl receives even a rudimentary enlighten- 
ment at this critical age ? Such ^^information as the young 
gain is gathered casually and haphazard by conversations 
with companions as ignorant as themselves, by chance 
leading, and by secret conjecture. 

At this adolescent climax the vital energy begins to arise 
in a new form. Between the early spontaneous mani- 
festations of this energy in childhood and the fresh arousing 
at the coming of puberty there is usually a latency period. 
The boy or girl is often not consciously interested in sexual 
affairs at this stage of pre-pubertal development. But the 
development of the mysterious internal secreting glands, 
with the hormones or " arousers," begins to affect emotion 
and tinge thought. Without any external stimulation there 
may be a mingling of hormone fluids with the blood stream, 
musing vague unrest and new longings. There are also 
specific signs in the parts of generation, giving rise to 


un-.itisticd rctlm ions and often to considerable perplexity 
and wonder. The mental soil is prepared for aberrant or 
morbid brooding. There is a development of secretive- 
ness and shyness. Often physical sensations, unrestful- 
ness, worry about passing examinations, the suggestion 
or example of companions, curiosity leading to experiment 
or lascivious conversations are the incentives to a habit of 
excessive masturbation. 

Frequently there is a youthful tendency to sexual inver- 
sion which is partly due to the segregation of the sexes. 
Both boys and girls are liable to develop a semi-passionate 
affection, or a sensuous attachment, for one of their own 
sex. This temporary aberration in adolescence is so preva- 
lent that some scientific inquirers regard it almost as a 
normal phase of youthful sex development. It is certain 
that these attractions are most frequently of a purely senti- 
mental character, and they may be described as a reaching 
out of the young emotions for love. In many instances the 
pupil, boy or girl, is affected emotionally by an older person 
of the same sex. There is in some cases a risk that the 
susceptible or the predisposed by heredity may become 
actually inverted (homo-sexual), especially when under the 
influence of an adult of an abnormal type. This danger 
is so plainly recognised by all intelligent head masters and 
mistresses that there is no need here to enlarge upon it. 
Unquestionably a want of comprehension of the sexual 
instinct and all that it implicates renders the young peril- 
ously exposed to this aberration during the years of tutelage. 

The risks for the unprepared boy are increased when he 
leaves school and mixes freely in all kinds of company. 
He is bound to encounter licentious persons whose con- 
versation and example may colour the whole of his career. 
When we are forewarned by the fact that in Europe an 
enormous number of cases of gonorrhoea are contracted by 
youths under the age of twenty-one, we should realise the 
sheer necessity for safeguarding the young by fitting in- 
struction upon the dangers of venereal disease. Many are 
blighted upon the very threshold of manhood. The in- 
;on of young children is terribly frequent in Europe and 
America. his <"' .'&' 

"A well-known "woman physician of Chicago affirms 


that ignorance is often responsible for the attitude of the 
girl towards immorality. As an instance she cites the case 
of a girl now working at one of the establishments in the 
stockyards whose mother ' did not tell her things.' She is 
now five months pregnant." 1 

There is now a wide agreement among eminent physicians 
and the commissioners at conferences, on venereal maladies 
that one of the most effective preventives of the spread of the 
evil is sex education. " Many of the immoral influences and 
dangers which are constantly surrounding young children 
on the street, in their amusements and in business life may 
be counteracted and minimised by proper moral teaching 
and scientific instruction." 2 Bloch recommends such en- 
lightenment, in the final stage of education, in sexual physi- 
ology and hygiene. 3 The majority of the medical witnesses 
at the British Royal Commission on Venereal Disease (1913- 
1914) spoke earnestly in advocacy of the instruction of 
young people of both sexes. 

We must accept the fact that the great mass of persons in 
the higher civilised societies are more or less unbalanced in 
their judgments upon questions of sex. This condition is 
due to a want of education. No doubt inherited tendency 
to fears and superstitions, bred in primitive brains, has a 
part in this phenomenon of the cultured races. But lack 
of sane teaching in childhood and youth is the chief cause of 
the perversion of outlook upon the subject. The prudish 
recoils and repugnances and the libidinous prurience spring 
from a deplorably defective knowledge of the great vital emotion. 
Our want of respect for sex is a foe to true morality, and a peril 
to national and racial health of mind and body. 

The primary duty of legislators, ethical leaders, jurists, 
pedagogues and sociologists is to instruct themselves in the 
science of sexualogy. There is no possible way of escape 
from the Sex Problem. The libido, in its wide sense, is the 
urge of all humanity, just and unjust, wise and simple, rich 
and poor alike. To understand human nature we must 
understand sex. 

1 The Social Evil in Chicago. 1911. American Vigilance Associa- 
tion. 2 Ibid. 

3 '.lhe Sexual Life of Our Time. Iwan Bloch, M.D. English 
trans, by Dr Eden Paul. 1908. 



From an extensive collection of authoritative opinion 
upon the urgent need for educational guidance I have 
selected the following extracts. Other views of scientific 
minds will be found in quotation throughout the volume. 
Inquiry into the literature of the Sex Question in Europe 
and America shows the widespread and increasing develop- 
ment of a fervent demand for knowledge on a soundly 
scientific basis. 

Sir THOMAS BARLOW, Bart. (President Roy. Coll. of Physicians), 
before the Royal Commission on Venereal Diseases, 1914 

Question : " Apart from the general educative effect on the public 
\vhich our Report may have, do you think any special instruc- 
tion on these subjects is desirable ? " 

Sir THOMAS BARLOW : " Yes, very desirable. ... I am willing to 
have it come from all sources if only the teachers are properly 
enlightened. . . . Directly young people are sent to work, what- 
ever the work may be, I think they ought to have instruction 
on this matter." Referring to knowledge of sex matters among 
the young, Sir T. BARLOW said : "It is awful the way they 
learn them now. They learn them in the very worst way." 

Sir VICTOR HORSLEY said : " I would teach every child at the age 
of twelve reproduction. ... In the secondary schools they 
ought to receive full instruction. ... 1 think the public will 
get accustomed to it, and I think the quicker they do the 

Dr CHALMERS (Med. Officer for Health, Glasgow) : "I think on 
general sexual matters of morality so called that instruction 
might be properly given to both sexes." 

Dr BURNET HAM (Head of Health Department, Victoria) : " The 
educational factor undoubtedly is an important one." 

Mr J. E. LANE, F.R.C.S. (Senior Surgeon, London Lock Hospital) : 
" There rm;st be, in the first place, some elementary idea of 
physiology and sexual physiology." 

Mr D. POWER (Surgeon and Lecturer, St Bartholomew's Hospital) 
replied to a question that he thought " the whole of the com- 
munity wants educating." 

Dr D. WHITE : " As they are approaching that age [between fourteen 
and fifteen] I think the moral education ought to be helped out 
with a knowledge of the physiological facts." 

Dr HELEN WILSON advocated instruction by lecture, leaflet. 

and private talk, with " a background of the physiological and 
health teaching." 


Dr E. B. SHERLOCK, B.Sc., Lecturer on Biology (author of The 
Feeble-Minded) : " So long as the scientific spirit actuates those 
who carry on the work of investigation, nothing but benefit 
to society at large can result from a critical study of our con- 
ceptions of sexual morality." 

Dr BERNARD HOLLANDER (Nervous Disorders of Women] : "Amongst 
young women of a marriageable age there is often a great deal 
of ignorance concerning reproductive functions, and a still 
greater amount of half knowledge, which is more dangerous than 
total ignorance. . . ." 

Dr T. N. KELYNACK (editor of The Child) : " It is being recognised 
that a rational education must provide for adequate instruc- 
tion in regard to sex hygiene. ... In all religious, social and 
educational systems the meaning and manifestations of the 
sex instinct must receive foremost consideration " (The Child, 
June, 1918). 

Dr G. T. WRENCH, M.D. (The Healthy Marriage): "Irreverence 
towards sex and ignoring of its primary importance to men 
and women cannot but be gravely disadvantageous to the 
cleanliness and health of any society." 

The late Prof. E. METCHNIKOFF described the neglect of sexual 
instruction as highly culpable " the most immoral of acts." 

Dr HAVELOCK ELLIS (Ed. Contemporary Science Series, and author 
of Studies in the Psychology of Sex) says : "In England little 
or no progress has yet been made. ... It must indeed be said 
that those who oppose the sexual enlightenment of youth in 
large cities are directly allying themselves, whether or not they 
know it, with the influences that make for vice and immorality. 
... It is scarcely necessary to say that the ordinary teacher 
of either sex is quite incompetent to speak of sexual hygiene." 

Dr F. M. GOODCHILD (Arena, March, 1896) : " It is little short of 
criminal to send our young people into the midst of the excite- 
ments and temptations of a great city with no more prepara- 
tion than if they were going to live in Paradise." 

Professor KARL PEARSON, M.A. : " Since the entire development of 
our species is quite dependent on the sex relations, the natural 
historian of the future will appeal, to an extent scarcely imagined 
in the present, to the science of sexualogy and to the formal 
history of sex." 

STEPHEN PAGET, M.D. : " All of us, when we think seriously about 
boys and girls from fourteen to eighteen years old, have at the 
back of our minds the thought of sex. . . . We must begin 
while they are children. . . . But we are still at sixes and 
sevens how to tell children about their bodily nature. ... I 
do not believe that what we call ' innocence ' is any sane pro 
tection to boys and girls against impure or perverted ways in 


THE BISHOP 01- LONDON : " The time gone l>v for whispers and 
paraphrases. Boys and girls must be told what these great 
vital farts of life moan, and they must be given the proper 
knowledge of their bodies and the proper care of them. No 
abstractions : the only way now is to be frank, man to man." 

A. A. BRILL, M.D., Ph.B. (author of Psychanalysis) : " The ignor- 
ance displayed in matters sexual is appalling." 

Mr SIDNEY UNWIN (Bedales School, England) : " Sexual indulgence 
is ultimately connected with the affections, and the affections 
must be trained as much as any other part of the child's person- 
ality if he is to have control and a right use of the sex force 
within him." l 

Dr EIHJARD CERESOLE, LAUSANNE (at the International Congress 
on School Hygiene, 1907) : " The ideas of the day on sexual 
hygiene and ethics are still those of the barbaric ages. They 
are not in harmony with the progress of modern science, and 
they constitute a permanent and inveterate danger to society." 

Prof. JUNG, Zurich University (Analytical Psychology) : " The prob- 
lem of the present day, sexual morality, , . . The problem and 
conflicts of love are of fundamental importance for humanity, 
and with increasingly careful study it comes out ever more 
clearly that the love life is of immensely greater importance 
than the individual suspects." 

Principal G. STANLEY HALL : " This probably ought to be the most 
inspiring of all topics to teach as to the truly pure in heart 
it is the most beautiful of all " (Adolescence}. 

Professor MAURICE A. BIGELOW (Columbia University) : " At 
present there are no thoroughly satisfactory books for adolescent 
boys and girls. . . . There is still plenty of chance for authors 
to experiment in writing books of this class. . . . 

" An adolescent girl of fourteen to sixteen should know the 
general plan of her own sexual structure " (Sex Education), 

Dr MARY SCHARLIEB, M.D. (Youth and Sex) : " It is a positive 
cruelty to allow a young woman to marry without knowing 
facts on which her happiness depends." 

Mr F. ARTHUR SIBLY, M.A. (Headmaster, Wycliffe College, Stone- 
house) : "No improvement on present conditions is possible 
until there has been much plainer speaking." 

Prof. PATRICK GEUDES and Prof. J. A. THOMSON (Problems of Sex) : 
" They should be told, honestly and hopefully, that these are 
the normal and necessary growth stirrings of life. . . . 

" It is ignorance, not science, which engenders pruriency and 
communicates filthy miivledness. . . . There is too much mist 

*See opinion of Mr J. II. Hadley in Chapter Til , Part II., of this 
volume, " Views of Teachers." 


about the life journey, from its origins and at its climax mists 
dark and unwholesome, favouring errors of judgment and errors 
of conduct " (Sex). 

Dr ERNEST JONES (Psychoanalysis): "The early development of 
the sexual instinct is a highly delicate one, and one peculiarly 
prone to errors both of direction and of intensity." 

Dr W. F. ROBIE (Rational Sex Ethics) refers to " the Cimmerian 
darkness which surrounds the sexual question for most young 
people, and indirectly enters the married state. . '. . I think 
this emotional appeal is the principal point of attack in the 
forewarning and training of young people in a correct view of 
the sexual life." 

PAOL BJERRE, M.D. (History and Practice of Psychanalysis) : " That 
sexual development is the hardest test for a human being must 
indeed be considered a universally accepted truth." 

Sir JAMES PAGET, M.D. (Sexual Hypochondriasis) : " Ignorance 
about sexual affairs seems to be a notable characteristic of the 
more civilised part of the human race." Sir J. PAGET recom- 
mended instruction in the duties of marital life. 

Miss HOSKYNS ABRAHALL (Child Nature and Education}: "Early 
adolescence is the time when boys and girls should begin to 
realise the responsibility of one generation to the next, should 
learn to feel that they are to hand on a great inheritance, and 
should be animated by the generous resolve not to suffer this to 
be impaired." 

believes that in the case of children beyond the age of puberty 
sex hygiene may be taught in schools under carefully trained 
and scientifically instructed teachers. For younger children 
the parents should do the teaching as the part of a sacred duty. 
... In colleges and universities sex hygiene should be univers- 
ally taught." 

Rev. HUGH NORTHCOTE (Christianity and Sex Problems] : "If 
mothers with marriageable daughters would carefully and 
rightly consider the matter, they would in almost all cases find 
the duty a possible one, and would be able to give a theoretical 
knowledge of the sexual process with such considerateness and 
tact as neither to stimulate unduly nor to stifle the just growth 
of sexual emotion." 

Dr CHARLES D. Fox (Psychopathology of Hysteria] : " It is indeed 
deplorable that a prolific cause of hysteria and its manifestations 
is the culpable ignorance of young girls." 

JUDGE LINDSAY (Juvenile Court of Denver). " In nearly every 
case the children brought before the court said that it was not 
from their parents, but in the street, or from older companions 
that they learnt the facts of sex. ' Parents do not know their 
children, nor have they the least idea of what their children 


know, or what their children talk about and do away from them.' 
Judge Lindsay states that nine tenths of schoolboys and school 
girls are very inquisitive concerning matters of sex" (extract 
from Sex in Relation to Socie.'y, by Ilavelock Ellis). 

EDWARD CARPI MKR : " The civilised girl is led to the altar often 
in uttermost ignorance and misunderstanding of tho sacrificial 
rites about to be consummated." 

CANON LYTTELTON, formerly Headmaster of Eton, holds that the 
necessary facts of paternity must be explained to both boys 
and girls (I raining of the Young in Laws of Sex}. 

Dr GEORGE H. NAPHEYS, M.D. (Physical Life of Woman) : " Ignor- 
ance here (i.e. in marriage) means suffering, disease and some- 
times death. Let us then interrogate science in regard to these 
matters among the most interesting of all human concerns." 

Professor E. H. STARLING, University College, London (letter to the 
author in Married Love, by Dr M. C. Stopes): " Instinct in 
man is all insufficient to determine social behaviour, and there 
is need of instruction in the highest of physiological functions, 
that of reproduction. ... It is better to acquire knowledge by 
instruction than by a type of experience which is nearly always 
sordid, and may be fraught with danger to the health of the 
individual and of the family." 

Mr CECIL M. CHAPMAN, Metropolitan Magistrate, said : " I believe 
that the root cause of nearly all this injustice and immorality 
lies in the wrong attitude of mind regarding sex relations which 
still misleads public opinion." 

M. EDEN PAUL, M.D. : " The time appears to be ripe for a full 
discussion of topics which it has, until quite recently, been 
the custom to ignore " (Prefatory Note to Eng. trans.. The 
Sexual Life of Our 1 ime). 



THE principal hindrances to the diffusion of knowledge of 
the laws of sex, the reproductive process and racial improve- 
ment are: (i) the apathy of a large number of the com- 
munity ; (2) hesitation, resistance, and occasionally hostility 
on the part of a proportion of parents ; (3) the lack of 
capable scientifically-trained instructors. 

The indifference to the question is undoubtedly lessening 
among the educated classes ; still a large amount of pioneer 
work is necessary before the need for sex education on sound 
principles is widely admitted. We have still an opposing 
party advocating silence, obfuscation, or evasion. There 
are many persons, with a very superficial outlook upon 
the matter, who endeavour to persuade themselves that 
" nature " takes care of sexual morality and hygiene, and 
that " natural instinct " provides adequate guidance in 
childhood, youth and conjugality. This serious mis- 
apprehension causes much individual and social error and 
calamity. 1 

As for those who belittle or condemn all effort to spread 
the light amid a gloom that can only be described as Cim- 
merian or appalling, we can merely hope to counteract their 
apathy or opposition by tactful education in socialisation. 
Whenever a topic is judged by the unreflective or the stub- 
bornly conventional as unnecessary, idle or unimportant, 
we may well inquire into the cause of the resistance. 

Generally it will be discovered that the actual aversion 
towards inquiry is a test of the deep importance for personal 
study. Individual sex complexes, fear, shame, prudery, 
disillusionment with love, and marital trouble are often 
the sources of an almost invincible prejudice against sex 
1 See remarks by Prof. Starling in opening chapter. 


psychology. The- nces are extremely common in 

the nations. specially in the \\Vst. They are 
frequently so strong that sex matters are banished to the 
realm of the imdebatable, and sometimes even described as 
"revolting," "disgusting," "unclean" or "abominable." 

Even some of the pioneers of women's social freedom 
have sho\vn resistance to enlightenment in simple facts of 
the natural order. Mary Wollstonecroft, who was con- 
sidered highly " advanced " in her day, declared that the 
teaching of botany and the reproduction of plants to young 
women would soil their innocence and imperil their sense of 
modesty. Mrs Lynn Lynton was opposed to education in 
the laws of sex, and frequently declaimed against the spread 
of vital knowledge among women. 

It follows from the apathy, want of knowledge and the 
inimical attitude that so few parents and pedagogues are 
fitted for the duty of training the young in the guidance of 
the sex impulse. While there is no widespread recogni- 
tion of the supreme need for this knowledge, there must 
be great difficulty in finding well-qualified monitors. This 
serious deficiency can only be mended by a gradual process 
of popular adult education. It is therefore necessary to 
reiterate that parental and scholastic enthusiasm must be 
fostered by every possible means. Granting the existence 
of a still formidable prejudice, based upon a want of broad 
appreciation of the significance of the subject, it can scarcely 
be said, as in the statement of one of the critics of my books, 1 
that there are " too many " published contributions to the 
question. So long as sex education is not included in the 
general education for life, there can scarcely be an undue 
insistence in speech and written word upon the necessity 
for this teaching. 

The combating of ignorance, prejudice arising from false 
modesty and false moral estimates, and the vulgar views of 
the street, is a work requiring fortitude and hardihood. 
Even the publication of earnest scientific works on sexual 
physiology and psychology is still beset with some difficulty. 

The pornographic or lascivious view of sex is one of the 
f actorsof resistance to reverential inquiry. A typical devotee 
of the lewd in literature and art is most frequently, if not 
1 T he Psychology of Marriage 1918. 


invariably, an opponent of sane sex teaching. At the best, 
he or she is indifferent to the scientific and idealistic aspects. 
No help can ever be expected from the prurient minds of 
either sex. The man who collects books described as 
erotica, gloats over indecent photographs, and relates un- 
clean jests is often quite ready to join with the most ultra- 
prudish in the denunciation and misrepresentation of the 
scientific teaching of sex. This attitude of a large number 
of adults is naturally imitated by the young who come 
under their influence. As a result, quite young children 
may start life with a meretricious view of all natural sex 
functions and processes, and the greatest care and ingenuity 
of the teacher may be almost or entirely powerless to remove 
the blight from the mind. 

The cultivation of the respectful attitude in the minds of 
the young is often rendered difficult by the fact that the 
soul has been stained by vulgar and lewd suggestions. 
There is no doubt that the parent who thinks that ignorance 
is better than knowledge has often been corrupted in his 
youth. And instead of. realising that the sure armour of 
pure knowledge would have protected him, he forms the 
fatal judgment that a profounder ignorance will prove a 
moral safeguard for his child. 

But how can this entire blankness of thought and imagina- 
tion be guaranteed in the ordinary life of a child or youth of 
our day ? Such ignorance is impossible. Even without 
external influence, the stirrings of the sex emotion are 
bound to arise internally and spontaneously in the most 
normal of children. Furthermore, it is ascertained that a 
healthy general development of the mind and body is 
usually accompanied by a vigorous functioning of sex. 
As a medical friend remarked to me years ago : "If 
I imprisoned my little boy on the top of a high tower 
he would still have sexual thoughts and impulses from 
within himself." 

The hankering for the improper and the obscene is a 
manifestation of the tremendous misdirection of the re- 
pressive method. It is becoming more and more evident 
that children reared with a healthy knowledge of sex matters 
do not develop a taste for conversational improprieties and 
vulgarity. The effort of total suppression frequently, if 


not in all cases, results in a prurient as opposed to a 
wholesome ruiin- itv. 

The etiology of the in. i. vent story or joke is now beginning 
to be understood. 1 It is of the nature of a relief or explosion. 
The censored or taboo topic undoubtedly becomes frequently 
an absorbing secret subject of reflection. Inevitably man 
yearns for the forbidden fruit. The more severe the pro- 
scriptions the stronger the curiosity, and the more potent 
the temptation to evade them. This curiosity is, ho'.\ 
modified to a large degree by a familiarity with the scientific 
facts of sexuality. Thus we cannot too often repeat that 
science has the kev to purity of thought and behaviour. 

The vicarious gratification of sexual desire is instanced 
in the case of the inveterate obscene jester. Repression 
of thought and act becomes unendurable and the pent-up 
feeling seeks a vent. Now, as the opportunities for sane 
discussion of the longings are exceedingly limited, through 
social convention, prudish prejudice and innate dreads, relief 
is sought in the common and tolerated method of society 
e.g. the double-meaning joke of a sexual character, the in- 
decent " limerick," the reading of pornographic books, and 
the very common habit of scribbling rhymes and indecencies 
upon walls. These practices reveal a tremendous ill- 
repressed preoccupation with the obscene in minds that 
have never been directed towards a clear comprehension 
of the high meaning of the natural instincts. 


The objections to enlightened education in sex must now 
be considered with cautious impartiality. There is a plea 
that this knowledge is " dangerous." But no one has 
pointed out specific instances of immoral conduct, impro- 
priety of speech and demeanour, or other ill results of the 
scientific teaching of sex hygiene and ethics. The risk of 
emotional excitation and the arousing of erotic desire pre- 
maturely are extremely rare contingencies. That sexual 
erethism may be aroused in some hyperaesthesic adults by 

1 For a full discussion c re Wit in A'? 'alien to the I' nconscioits, by 
Fioi. Sigmund Freud. 


even inspecting a physiological diagram is true in a very 
few cases. I have been told by a mature woman that the 
reading of a work on physiology, in which the organs of sex 
were explained, aroused desires that had been partially 
dormant. This, however, is no argument against the ac- 
quisition of knowledge for the mass of men and women. 

In the above instance my informant had led a life of 
intense repression of ordinary intelligent curiosity. She 
was, on her own admission, often secretly stirred with 
spontaneous, powerful yearnings, which she scarcely under- 
stood. In very early childhood she contracted a common 
habit, through the suggestion of a female servant, and her 
eroticism had developed in a thoroughly morbid soil. Her 
mother had silenced all her youthful questions concerning 
the mystery of birth, the relations of the sexes, and the 
periodic function of women. She was austerely com- 
manded not to think about such things. This lady married 
at a rather late age and has shown a very strong resistance 
to normal sexual relations with her husband. 

This example may be accepted as a warning and as a 
common typical instance of the need for sensible instruc- 
tion in girlhood. The thrusting down of the natural con- 
scious wish for information, the long abnormal absorption 
with mental sexual images and the prudish reactions had 
induced sex hypersesthesia in a strongly amorous subject. 
Almost anything that can be said to possess a stimulating 
quality would be likely to arouse erotic excitement in such 
a mind. These stimuli are very abundant for the normal 
and perfectly healthy person. For the abnormal and the 
morbid they are immensely more numerous. The over- 
sexed person lives constantly exposed to incitements and 
mental aphrodisiacs. Hence sensation may be stimulated 
by objects, sounds, odours and contacts that would have 
no influence upon the normal being. 

Suitable enlightenment in childhood would, in the great 
majority of instances, prevent abnormal or aberrant sexual 
development. If erotic feeling is aroused by the spectacle 
of a plan of the human body, or by a sculptured image of 
the human form, there is a too intense susceptibility to 
stimuli. This sexual hypersesthesia is often the consequence 
of an undue repression, as exampled by some of the mediaeval 


ascetics. It arises also from the suppression of natural 
inquiry in the manifestations of the sexual life and the 
scheme of reproduction. If sex is regarded from the earliest 
years as intrinsically shameful, or associated with evil, 
there is every chance that the mental attitude to even the 
most beautiful and elevating emotions may become dis- 
torted and even diseased. 

Opposition to sex education among the young on the 
ground that such teaching may foster premature desires 
is not in the interest of morality. We cannot leave the 
mind of the child entirely blank. The influences of the 
world, even in childhood, are too numerous and constant. 
A father assured Professor Jung that his little daughter 
was absolutely " innocent " of all knowledge of sexual 
matters. The professor discovered that the child had an 
inveterate auto-erotic habit. A very large number of 
children of both sexes discover sex sensation spontane- 
ously, and often long before puberty. 

It is impossible to preserve an absolute ignorance and 
there is no validity in the protest that children should, 
not receive instruction. Absolute ignorance, even in quiU 
young children, and in the most refined environment, is scarcely 
possible in modern life, and more especially in the case of the 
young brought up in towns. Parents who fear to imperil 
childish modesty by the teaching of physiology should 
inquire whether this risk is not infinitely greater when 
the acquisition of knowledge is left wholly to chance. The 
untaught and unprepared child is usually only too easily 
affected by the first flippant or vulgar companion with 
whom he or she associates. Moreover, as I have pointed 
out, we have not only to protect the child from evil influ- 
ences of an external character, but we need to explain the 
automatic internal arousing of the new desires that often 
develop before the normal age of puberty. 

The preliminary information concerning birth cannot 
cause immodesty, if imparted judiciously and reverentially. 
On the contrary, a little child who has been taught respect 
for the fairy magic and solemn mystery of human repro- 
duction will develop modestly, and will feel revulsion when 
the subject is mentioned with a frivolous disrespect or made 
a topic of coarse jesting. A sensibly instructed boy or girl 


will regard motherhood as something too beautiful for 
ribaldry. I am convinced that the emotional and aesthetic 
aspects of sex love and of the reproductive process are 
elevated and refined in the youthful mind educated on 
scientific lines. 


In my youth it was said by many parents that " there are 
things a child should not know. " The tendency now, among 
an increasing number of earnest-minded guardians of the 
young, is to inquire as to what should be told, and how the 
knowledge should be conveyed to the childish intelligence. 
The new psychology of the child shows, without doubt, 
that the withholding of the truth injures the emotional and 
intellectual relationship between parents and their children. 
One well-meaning lie repeated by the father or mother may 
destroy for ever the confidence of the child. A severe 
reproof in response to a childish question or speculation 
upon reproductive enigmas acts as an excitant to further 
curiosity and speculation. Parents are wont to imagine 
that the hushed voice or the admonition to silence checks 
the inquisitive tendency. No doubt such tactics check 
the child from further attempts to learn from the parent 
or teacher. But instead of diminishing the curiosity, the 
evasive answer or the palpable untruth stimulates a 
deeper craving for enlightenment. This is an inevitable 

Parents must ask themselves if they are not positively 
culpable when they refuse sane guidance in sex for their 
children. It is a mistaken sentiment of affection that 
prompts the mother to silence austerely the first vague 
questionings of her son or daughter. True love for a child 
is exhibited by a solicitude for protection. Ignorance is 
not protective. It is a fearful menace. The sexual life is 
exposed to manifold perils from childhood to the senile 
stage. For many it is a stormy sea, beset with reefs and 
shoals, and for all the passage is opposed by difficulties in 
steering a safe course. 

Among the advocates of sex knowledge for the young are 
some who doubt whether the parent is the best teacher, 


except in the tender years of the child. It need scarcely be 
insisted that the mother, the first of all teachers, should be 
the natural initiator of young children. The first and natural 
source of this knowledge seems to be the maternal. That 
the average mother is rarely well equipped in every respect 
for this important task is one of the primary defects of our 
educational methods. 

Conscientious fathers and mothers frequently confess that 
they do not feel fully competent to teach their own children 
the rudiments of this knowledge. In the case of adolescents, 
whose curiosity naturally excels that of the young child, 
the questions are more difficult to answer with requisite 
candour. A host of parents declare that shyness assails 
them when discussing the most intimate aspects of the sex 
life with their children. This shyness frequently inhibits 
parental guidance. It is an actual problem for many 
solicitous parents. 

If the resistance against candour is strong the parent can 
hardly be recognised as the most effective instructor of the 
child at the age of puberty. This resistance is not necessarily 
prudish. It may arise in those who have a sincere wish that 
their children shall be properly instructed. For personal 
and intimate reasons there is often a relative reserve in 
speech upon certain phases of sex. The final, but highly 
pertinent, question of the child is concerning the part 
enacted by the father in generation. And it is precisely 
this query that is disregarded or shirked. 


A schoolmistress of an elementary school at Chesterfield, 
realising the urgency of scientific sex teaching, began to 
impart a knowledge of physiology to her pupils. Un- 
fortunately there was opposition from the parents of the 
children, and the humane and disinterested efforts of a 
hard-worked teacher were hindered by an ill-founded 
hostility to physiology. 

As one of the advocates of scientific sex teaching points 
out, we have still to reckon with the forces of ignorance and 
coarse-mindedness. 1 The education of parents must be 
1 See Sex in Relation to Society, by Havelock Ellis. 


undertaken in very many instances before we can begin to 
educate the children. Propaganda by means of lectures 
and literature, designed for defectively educated parents, 
would serve a good purpose in preparing the way for sex 
guidance in the home and the school. We must recognise 
that very many fathers and mothers have faith in the efficacy 
of complete silence, or of " leaving such matters to nature." 
They must be taught that the method of concealment is 
disastrous, and even " culpable," as Metchnikoff states ; 
and that abandoning the moral direction of the erotic 
impulse to " nature " is hardly practicable at the present 
stage of human evolution. 

The instinct of animals can never supply adequate 
guidance for human beings in the control, rightful use and 
sublimation of the passion of love. Sexual love in man 
and woman cannot be compared rationally with the rutting 
impulse in the animals. Love is always more or less massive 
and pervasive in the consciousness of civilised mankind, 
and is, in fact, the very mainspring of man's energy and 
numerous mental activities. 

A complete reform of the intellectual attitude towards 
the sex question must precede any widespread understand- 
ing of the need for tuition. The gravity of the problems of 
the sex life from infancy to old age must be made evident 
to those who look indifferently upon the subject of sex 
education. An immense responsibility rests upon the 
clergy of the Church and the ministers of Nonconformity. 
So long as they neglect to speak earnestly in recommenda- 
tion of educational guidance in sex development, they must 
fail in the fulfilment of a trust as moral guides and reformers 
in this most vital of all human affairs. 

Hitherto the only training of the young in matters of sex 
in England has been purely religious. For the greater part, 
the religious exhortation has consisted of severe denuncia- 
tion of fleshly lusts, fornication and marital infidelity. 
This negative teaching needs to be supplemented by positive 
instruction. The highest moral or religious idealism is 
compatible with the deepest scientific apprehension. I am 
impressed by the earnest moral and spiritual attitude to 
questions of sex shown in the writings of the leading sexual 
psychologists of all nationalities. These eager students of 


human life reveal a devotion for humanity which is often 
quite secondary in the volumes of tlioologically orthodox 
writer?. " Our scientific spirit is devout," said Pro: 
William James. The ardent quest for truth is, in the 
widest sense, religious, or a seeking for the good. 

The necessity for the moral-emotional appeal cannot be 
urged too vigorously. Sex is not a study of dry bones, but 
a live and intensely emotional subject. Spiritualised love 
is a matter of faith, deep feeling, refined sentiment, idealism, 
poetry, aesthetics and romance. The scientific analysis of 
the deepest emotion of the heart e.g. love inspires wonder 
and reverence, and combats materialistic conceptions and 
vulgar disesteem for sex. This knowledge, by enlarging 
our view of human nature, brings understanding and 
sympathy. It assists in forming true moral judgments. 
It explains some of the profoundest mysteries of human 
behaviour. The quest of truth by the aid of science may 
necessitate a stripping of the disguises that hide the real 
man or woman, and this process may sometimes reveal the 
ugly and the repellent. But in baring the soul how often 
may w r e find beauty, nobility and virtue as a contrast to the 
evil or morbid characteristics. 

No earnest student can afford to shirk the realities of life 
if he would learn the highest and the lowest that is possible 
to humanity. There must be unflinching vision on the 
part of those who would teach. And this may require a 
knowledge of the darker side of the sexual problem. But 
the brighter side, as one investigator insists, 1 is the side that 
should be vividly presented to the mind of youth. The 
splendour and the beauty of the love of the sexes must 
be revealed to the young through the intelligence and the 

To minds unassailed by prudery or salacity the sexual 
passion conveys most that is finely spiritual, inspiring and 
sacred in life. With the child one cannot begin too early 
the duty of imparting respect for the body and its mar- 
vellous mechanism, as a preparation for later instruction in 
nature's racial purpose and the meaning of sex love in the 
mighty scheme of living creatures, with Man as the highest 
manifestation of brain development. 

1 W. F. Robie, M.D., Rational Sex Ethics. 



THE primitive form of sex education of the young will be 
found in the initiation rites of puberty practised among 
ancient and modern barbaric and semi-civilised peoples. 
These practices have been, and are still, very widespread 
throughout the world. The savage mind, probably univers- 
ally, fears the sexual instinct and looks upon the union of 
the sexes as dangerous. Anthropology and folk-lore abound 
with instances of this dread, and numerous travellers and 
explorers have described the curious ceremonials connected 
with the attainment of the pubescent age in both sexes. 
The initiation customs are a training for manhood and 
womanhood. They stimulate physical courage and endur- 
ance, and inspire the mind with awe for the mighty 
reproductive force. This education is usually undertaken 
by the older members of the tribe, who seclude the young 
disciples in remote parts of the country, often for weeks or 

Most of this primitive teaching involves submission to 
painful ordeals as a part of the discipline of the future life. 
The training of the boy or girl is laborious and ascetic. In 
some tribes of Australia circumcision is practised on the 
males and an operation is performed on the female 
generative organs. These operations must be suffered with- 
out an expression of pain or the pupil is disgraced. Similar 
inculcation of fortitude and restraint characterises the 
initiatory pubertal ceremonies of some African races. The 
Indians of California sequestrate girls of the age of puberty 
in a pit, attended by aged women, who by symbolic means 
explain the process of reproduction. At the end of four 
days of instruction the girls are decorated, and corn is 
thrown over them. 



Wherever we search amo I we shall 

that instruction in the duties of marriage and parentage 
are considered highly essential for the welfare of the in- 
dividual and the community. As most primitive people 
marry soon after attaining puberty, early enlightenment is 
necessary. It is a strange fact that the uncultured mind 
ned ages ago that a preparation for conjugality is an 
imperative matter, whereas the cultured minds of to-day 
often assume that such education is unessential. No one 
except Stephen Paget has, I believe, made a practical pro- 
posal of ceremonial at the arrival of the adolescent period. 1 
But a modified form of the primitive rituals, adapted to 
the present age, might be made highly impressive to the 
young. Such a rite could be surrounded with appropriate 
solemnity, and employed as a kind of confirmation of a 
reverential attitude towards manhood and womanhood 
and their racial responsibilities. On the other hand, some 
teachers are of the opinion that all teaching should be un- 
obtrusive and not definite or specialised. 

It must not be inferred that savages are lacking in 
modesty. On the contrary, the primitive sense of sexual 
delicacy is very frequently acute. And, from the evidence 
of anthropology, it is well established that barbaric people 
associate reproduction with the holy. The sex initiation of 
the young among primitive folk is undoubtedly associated 
with religious belief and social ethics. These rites are of 
an extremely solemn character. 

The ancient Oriental races were especially deferential 
towards the sexual impulse. In the old theologies of India 
full regard is given to questions of marriage, conjugal hygiene 
and the art of love. The chief religious symbols denote 
generative power. Phallic worship, which was one of the 
most ancient of all religions, was a cult in honour of repro- 
duction and fertility, and its signs still survive in all parts 
of the world. In India phallicism is traceable in many 
rituals and pious observances, and its symbolic images are 
preserved as sacred. 

Vishnu, Manu, and Vatsyayana give counsels for the 
regulation of the sexual life and conjugal conduct. The 
Kama Sutra is a grave erotic manual for the use of the devout, 
1 See Adolescence. 


though its sex morality is not always that of the Western 
nations. To Kama was given the charge of mortal love by 
the Creator. 

Hindu womanhood is divinely represented by the goddess 
Uma and the female deity of a vast number of Indian 
people is Shakti or Sakti. Manu asserts that " the mother 
exceedeth a thousand fathers in the right to reverence, and 
in the function of teacher." Woman in her noblest guise 
is personified in Sakti, which word signifies power and 
energy. There is no shame for the procreative office in 
the Hindu religion. Sir William Jones states that the 
cultured Hindu cannot understand how that which is 
natural can be offensively obscene, and that the frankness 
of the classic works is no proof of depraved morals. The 
most rigorous restraints upon desire are as much a part of 
the creed of devout Hindus as the rightful gratifications. 
This honest acceptation of the vital impulse of love has 
no doubt a share among the factors which, according to 
Mrs F. A. Steel, makes the morality of India " far higher " 
than that of England. A native writer on Hindu Love 
has said that the sacredness of the relation of husband and 
wife in India " is invested with a heavenly grandeur which 
passes all description." 

In Burma the passing of girls from childhood to early 
womanhood is a festival. The girl is attired in her finest 
robe, earrings are placed in her ears as a mark of the age of 
marriage, and guests offer congratulations. The Burmese 
boy is impressed with the importance of attaining puberty 
by a ritual of tattooing the legs. Married happiness is the 
rule in Burma, and sex equality is established. There is 
reason for believing that the esteem for love and the 
absence of all prudish reactions against questions of sex 
are amonz the chief factors of the morality and social well- 
being of the Burmese people. 

The ancient Hebrews, under the rule of Moses, observed 
a very strict sexual hygiene, and the code contains explicit 
directions, which are of the nature of education in the 
vita sexualis. In the faith of Islam the sex relationship 
is controlled by severe regulations, and Mahomet framed 
precise rules for conjugal behaviour and pre-marital 



The Catholic Church has always recognised the import- 
ance of the Sex Question. The theological contributions 
to this subject are very numerous, and many of them are 
written with the utmost candour. In receiving confessions 
the priest is bound to encounter irregularities of the sexual 
life committed by penitents, and it is apparent that the 
clergy were, at an early age in the history of Catholicism, 
equipped with a knowledge of the sex instinct in most of 
its manifestations and aberrations. 

This is proved conclusively by the existence of a great 
classic library of volumes and treatises upon the main 
phases of sexuality. Upon authoritative scientific judg- 
ment, the Roman Catholic Church " has always displayed 
greater openness and less hypocrisy than, for example, 
the Protestant pietists." 1 There are, however, exceptions 
to the reticent attitude of Protestant teachers, notably 
that of Martin Luther, who openly discussed matters of 
sexual conduct. 

Catholic divines and savants have undoubtedly provided 
an extensive literature treating upon problems of sex. 
There are very few of the abnormalities and perversions 
known to psychopathologists which are not discussed in 
the works of Catholic authors. The Golden Key of Antonio 
Claret, Archbishop of Caba, and Matrimony, a standard 
volume by T. Sanchez, are representative works. These 
writings are to be classed, for the greater number, as efforts 
towards the enlightenment of mankind in the nature, 
force and widespread influence of the emotion of sex love. 

If Catholicism imperilled the sane mental, emotional 
and ethical attitude to love and the intercourse of the sexes 
by extolling the celibate life, casting suspicion on marriage 
and aspersing woman as a source of corruption and danger, 
it cannot be denied that, on the other hand, many of the 

1 Iwan Bloch. M.D. ( 7 he Sexual Life of our Time), enumerates 
various accredited writings of the fathers and clerics of the Church. 
Among these are Augustine, Bouvier, Capellmann, Dens, (iury, 
Liguori, Molinos, Pereira, Kousselot, Sanchez, Soto, Suarez, Aquinas, 
Wigandt and Zeuardi. 


great teachers of the Church refused to darken the sex 
question. There was a perfectly clear recognition of the 
enormous influence of the erotic energy in human life, and 
a fervid endeavour to cope with the evils and morbidities 
arising from this force. Moreover, the ethical and hygienic 
counsels for the celibate and the wedded were frequently 
sound and practical. We must therefore set this humani- 
tarian ardour against the fanatical injunctions of complete 
asceticism, which, as sacerdotal records prove, usually de- 
feated the ends of morality and purity. At all events, the 
Catholic Church sanctioned and encouraged enlightenment 
in this department of knowledge. 

Martin Luther plainly perceived the importance of 
direction in sexual conduct, and his vehement antipathy 
to the teaching of celibacy inspired him with zeal in attack- 
ing the ascetic doctrine of the Catholic creed. That Luther 
was a man of powerful vitality and strong passions is 
evident from his own writings. "He to whom the gift of 
continence is not given," he writes, " will not become chaste 
by fasting and vigils." The Protestant reformer's hetero- 
doxy in conjugal ethics is evinced in his suggestion that 
women united to impotent husbands should be permitted 
to take another partner, in cases where there was no desire 
for divorce. He emphasised the fact that virility will 
always seek natural gratification, and recognised it as the 
chief sign of manhood. 

Nevertheless, Luther was not free from the ascription 
of some of the eminent Fathers to sin as the source of the 
sex instinct. He was inclined to think that it would be 
better for humanity if all men were moulded from earth. 
It is obvious that any association of the love impulse with 
" original sin " is prejudicial to sound teaching in sexual 
matters. Notwithstanding, we must accord to Luther re- 
spect for his outspokenness upon the marital relation and 
his courage in combating prejudices that he had outgrown. 

Swedenborg may be taken as an example of a sectarian 
leader who recognised the need for sex enlightenment. 
To his followers he addressed a ponderous volume upon 
Conjugial Love characterised by much common-sense in 
portions, but containing statements that will not stand 
scientific analysis. 



For centuries throughout Christendom there was no effort 
to diffuse education in sexual physiology and hygiene 
among the mass of the people. After the Reformation, 
and especially in the days of Puritanism, there were many 
published exhortations to chastity and violent denuncia- 
tions of sensuality, sexual irregularity and adultery. The 
Mosaic Code was revised in all its austerity. Sex became 
a forbidden topic. In England and Scotland innocent 
love was commonly regarded as a species of wantonness. 
Scottish theological writers of the seventeenth and eigh- 
teenth centuries vie with one another in solemn warnings 
against the lure of the erotic impulse. Fanaticism went to 
the length of forbidding music at weddings and denounc- 
ing parents who kissed their children on the Sabbath. 
Under this harsh and unnatural system of repression every 
kind of sex vice and perversion flourished. 

For a long period in our country the only attempt at 
guidance in a virtuous and healthy sex life was a practical 
condemnation of the instinct that attracts and unites the 
sexes and continues the race. Bad sanitation and personal 
uncleanness accompanied a diseased mental view of the 
relations of the sexes. Love brought joy and pleasure ; 
therefore to the misguided zealot of perpetual abnegation 
of all enjoyment love was a danger and a source of sin. 
A poisonous prudery was the companion of gross lust and 
furtive vice. 

Syphilis began to ravage Europe with its deadly poison. 
The brothels were numerous in the cities of Europe. 
Attempts at repression brought a reaction of libertinism, 
and the first efforts of legal regulation of prostitution were 
instituted in England. The spread of venereal diseases 
began to foster physical degeneration in the race. 

There is no discoverable trace of any endeavour to combat 
the licence, vice and diseases of those days by means of 
sexual education. The grosser kinds of indecent literature 
were in circulation, but no scientific volumes were issued. 
Physiology was neglected and the knowledge of medical men 
was very limited. The preachers denounced immorality. 


But no one showed the way to a rational, moral and 
healthy sexual life. 

A volume which may be classed among the works 
essaying to control sex conduct was published in Latin 
in 1760, and afterwards translated into most European 
languages. It was the composition of a Swiss doctor 
named Tissot. I refer to this treatise because it was highly 
esteemed and widely distributed at a time when such 
writings had become scarce. This book was the celebrated 
Treatise on Onanism : A Dissertation upon the Maladies 
produced by Masturbation. 

The work of Tissot is of historical interest, inasmuch as it 
deeply influenced contemporary medical minds and gave 
birth to strong traditional opinions that survive to this 
day. Tissot, in the role of a reformer of sex morals and 
an enlightener of youth, was unwittingly the benefactor of 
countless quacks throughout the civilised nations. The 
consideration of the difficult but profoundly important 
question of auto-erotism (masturbation, onanism, self- 
abuse) is one of the primary necessities of the parent and 
teacher who would lead the young rightly. But the 
teachers must gain their instruction from the highest 
sources of modern research. 

Tissot was the pioneer of the immense host of " scare 
writers," both well-intentioned and unscrupulous, who have 
played a great part in shaping the thought of youth in 
questions of sex. He raised " a colossal bogy," * which 
other physicians of larger knowledge and experience have 
dethroned. Iwan Bloch accepts Tissot as " the true founder 
of the scientific literature " on this theme, but entirely 
disagrees with his flagrant exaggerations and uncompro- 
mising pessimism. There is no doubt that this Swiss 
physician and his huge army of followers, consisting of 
some medical and numerous lay writers and preachers, 
have caused very many cases of sexual neurasthenia, hypo- 
chondriasis, mental depression, anxiety neurosis and even 

1 See vol. i., Studies in the Psychology of Sex. Havelock Ellis. 


Undoubtedly some of the apparently inexplicable 
suicides of children and adolescents are the result of the 
terror, remorse and despair induced by reading alarming 
descriptions of a whole host ot major and minor maladies 
attributed to masturbatory habits. In The Psychology 
of Marriage I have referred to the injurious influence of 
terrifying quack pamphlets upon the mind and nervous 
system of young people and of many adults. 

Tissot's almost epoch-making treatise was succeeded 
by other writings of a similar type, in which all the ills 
and the diseases of mankind were traced to auto-erotism. 
Lallemand, in 1836, wrote a medical work on this topic 
which repeated some of the errors of his predecessor. 
Since then the majority of the authors appealing to a large 
public have unreservedly accepted Tissot and Lallemand 
and their school as models. Often these writers have 
frightened their readers with their well-meaning moral 
enthusiasm. Unfortunately the terroristic method has 
been proved by the experience of balanced scientific minds 
and thoughtful moralists not only ineffectual but a stimulus 
to excesses. The psychic injury inflicted by this means is 
incalculable. Victims who have been told that they will 
become lunatics have actually lost their reason through 
dread alone. Dr Savage and other authorities mention 
suicide as a result. 

The historical survey of sex education shows enormous 
gaps in the issue of writings designed as offering guidance 
to adults. And it is only within the past fifty years that 
a demand has arisen for the enlightenment of children and 

The movement must be regarded as in its infancy in 
England. In America and Canada there has been con- 
siderable advance during the past twenty-five years. 

Bosnia, among European nations, has lately set an 
admirable example to the civilised world by the inception 
of State instruction in sexual questions. The reform was 
initiated as a check upon the tremendous spread of venereal 
diseases. In a short time the results have proved almost 
marvellous. The reduction in the cases of disease are most 



DURING a long period in England and America a voice was 
heard now and again in the wilderness. James Hinton, 
a cultured physician, wrote earnestly upon sexual ethics 
and hygiene in the Mid- Victorian period ; but his works 
are rarely read, except perhaps the well-known Mystery 
of Pain. Hinton asserted that " science has in its hands 
the key to purity." a statement that is now coming within 
the probability of acceptance by all honest minds. Have- 
lock Ellis frequently quotes Hinton with admiration. 
He states that one of this author's contributions to the 
discussion of sex is still in manuscript. 

J. Milner Fothergill, about thirty years ago, strongly 
advocated sex teaching in his volume on Adolescence. The 
exclusion of any reference to the reproductive system in 
Professor Huxley's Physiology shows that in his view the 
time was not yet for enlightening the young in matters of 
sex. Twenty years ago there was scarcely any available 
volume sufficiently plain for the comprehension of an 
average young man or woman who wished to understand 
human reproduction. There were medical manuals and 
ponderous technical works in abundance, but nothing of the 
character of Miss Norah March's Towards Racial Health, or 
Dr Herbert's Introduction to the Physiology and Psychology 
of Sex. Many conscientious parents sought in vain for 
helpful information for their children. Such information 
was very scarce. 

The Elements of Social Science, a volume attributed to a 
well-known physician and chief of a London hospital, had 
a very large sale, and was translated into several languages 
some years ago. This was an earnestly written book on 
several phases of the Sex Question. The writings of Dr 



Acton, Dr Trail, Dr Foote and several other medical authors 
upon srxual physiology and reproduction are still oo 
ally seen in booksellers' windows in England and An 
Foote's volume was of a partly scientific character, 
works made no appeal to the young. 

The description sexual psychology was probably never 
used fifty years ago. In recent years Professor Karl 
Pearson, in one of his essays, has referred to the import- 
ance of the study of " sexualogy " as a very important part 
of sociology. The leading pioneer of this new branch of 
scientific research in England is undoubtedly Havelock 
Ellis, who has made the study the chief part of his 
life's labour. To him we owe great advance in our 
knowledge. With painstaking industry and scientific 
thoroughness Ellis has collected a vast mass of highly 
useful data for social reformers, legislators, physicians 
and teachers. 

The introduction of sex instruction in pedagogics has 
only just begun in England. Canon Lyttelton, when head- 
master of Eton College, realised the necessity for the sexual 
education of the young. The headmaster of Bedales 
School, a co-education institution, has set an example in 
this direction. It is, however, difficult to find many 
instances of the initiation of class teaching on this subject 
in the United Kingdom. 

In my early manhood I attended a lecture in a pro- 
vincial town hall given by a then popular travelling 
evangelist. This preacher was supported by some of the 
leading ministers of the town, and the hall was filled with 
a large audience of " men only." The method of this 
missionary cannot be commended. His plea for purity 
was marred by an ignorance in physiological statement, 
and his illustrations, designed to terrify evil-doers, were 
extravagant and so alarming that one of his hearers 
was carried out in a fainting fit. I cannot believe 
that there is any true inspiration to virtue in a vehement 
denunciatory address lasting for over an hour. No help- 
ful practical counsel was offered to the young men 



Pleas for instruction in sex physiology and hygiene are 
more numerous in the United States and Canada than in 
Great Britain. In the United States there are several 
influential propaganda associations, notably the American 
Society of Sanitary and Moral Prophylaxis, which is largely 
the result of a vigorous advocacy undertaken by Dr Prince 
Morrow, a high-minded reformer and scientific investigator. 
The Chicago Society of Social Hygiene dates from 1906. 
The Vice-Commission of that city, held in 1910, published 
an earnest appeal for the enlightenment of the young in 
their Report of 399 pages. 

In the States there has been considerable private 
and individual effort towards education in this urgent 
matter. Dr Helen C. Putnam has made practical proposals. 1 
Principal Stanley Hall, of Clark University, is a whole- 
hearted pleader for sex knowledge, and has contributed 
much valuable literary material to the subject. In the 
various schools and colleges with which Professor Hall has 
been connected he has felt it his duty to speak plainly 
to young men students. Literary instruction in America 
is represented by a long list of books and pamphlets. A 
practical volume has been written on Sex Education by 
a well-known American biologist and teacher, Professor 
Maurice Bigelow. 

In Canada the Government provides suitable sex teaching 
in all the State schools in Ontario. Boys and girls after 
the age of ten receive enlightenment in physiology and 
are taught respect for the sexual function. Sir Thomas 
Barlow, the well-known English physician, has approved 
of the system of instruction in the western states of 
Canada, and says that it "has been done without any 
offence whatever." 2 

Ellis writes that in the Italian Normal Schools the 
subjects of sex and reproduction are looked upon as 
a necessary educative process. Michels refers to the 

1 See " Biologists in Public Schools " in New York Journal of 
Med., Nov., 1906. 

2 See Report of Royal Commission on Venereal Diseases, 1913-1914. 


advance in this form of education in Italy, 1 and gives an 
account of a representative conference of men of >>cience, 
and clerics and pedagogues convened for the discussion of 
the Sex Question. 

I n France, where education is not mainly a means of be- 
coming a successful money-maker, proportionate regard is 
paid to the spiritual things of life in the school curriculum. 
The moral influence in the French schools has been described 
with fervent appreciation by Principal Stanley Hall. Due 
attention is being directed to sex education in France, and 
much credit is to be accorded to the earnestly scientific 
humanist and physician Pinard for his eloquent appeal for 
this amelioration of the educational code. 2 

In Bohemia Dr Stanislav Ruyicka has given lectures on 
sex physiology and hygiene to school children up to the age 
of fourteen. The teachers in the large towns generally 
approve of this means of public education. German 
reforms in sex education have progressed considerably in 
the past twenty-five years, and the same advance has been 
made in Austria. 

Dr Eduard Ceresole, Lausanne, Switzerland, is of the 
opinion that "It is more necessary to the child's moral 
and physical welfare that he should be instructed on sexual 
questions than to be taught any other of the actual school 
curriculum. . . . To the people who taboo all sexual 
subjects as immoral I will answer that a scientific fact 
or truth is never immoral, but that the hypocrisy and 
concealment now prevailing with regard to such matters 
are decidedly so." 

In a reform so young as that of educational guidance 
in sex development there cannot be much to relate in the 
way of results, at anyrate in Great Britain and Ireland. 
There is unquestionably a movement towards scientific 
inquiry in sex psychology among the thoughtful classes. 
But we are as yet in the initial stage of sexual pedagogy and 
the training of the young in the laws of a healthy sex life. 

1 Sexual Ethics. 

2 Dr Lucien Butte, an eminent medical inspector of schools in 
France, speaking at the English meeting of the Internation 

gress on School Hygiene, advocated the tcai-iiiiig of sexual hygiene 
as quite as important as any of the laws of health. 



THE qualifications of the instructors in sex education 
require cautious consideration. Resistance to inquiry in 
this branch of knowledge is so strongly developed in some 
men and women that it constitutes a positive disqualifica- 
tion. Unless the teacher can feel zealous for his subject, 
and take a sincere and scientific interest in it, he is not fitted 
for this important task. Before we can institute this 
much-needed reform in pedagogics, we must convince a 
far larger number of teachers of both sexes than exists at 
present of the great necessity for the reform. There are 
still not wholly unintelligent persons who believe that a 
shirking of this matter makes for morality. They fear 
sex knowledge in any form as a menace to the natural 
modesty of youth. 

Any prejudice or repressed sex complex debars from the 
work of instruction. There must be the conviction that 
sex is inherently a clean topic, and the ability to distinguish 
between mere idle curiosity or the prurient habit of mind 
and a genuine bias for knowledge in the service of the 
higher needs of humanity. The teacher requires a spiritual 
perception of the massive power of love as well as an 
appreciation for the scientific method. He or she should be 
something of the artist or poet in addition to a physiologist 
and psychologist. If the trainer of the young in the rules 
of a healthy and moral sex life cannot make the requisite 
emotional appeal to young people, he or she can never 
become an ideal preceptor. For although the teaching 
must in some cases be entirely dispassionate and objective, 



there are occasions when personal sympathy, arising from 
insight and a knowledge of the human heart, is very essential. 

It is obvious, therefore, that efficiency in instructing 
the young depends principally upon the teacher's zeal for 
the subject. Without enthusiasm and earnestness the 
instructor will fail to impress the pupils with the high 
importance of the study, or to assure their interest, apper- 
ception and attention. At present there are not many 
educationists fully equipped with the essential ardour, 
psychological understanding of the juvenile mind, and 
knowledge of embryology and physiology. There are no 
professors of sex psychology in the universities, and the 
teacher must prepare himself or herself by private study 
and research. 

As a preliminary it would be well if the instructor placed 
himself in the hands of an expert psychoanalyst. In all 
of us there exist opposing psychic elements, an accumula- 
tion of the detritus of barbaric ages, a resistance to the 
subject and a sense of timidity in approaching it. This 
fear is one of the strongest proofs that the topic is of unusual 
importance. If the first impression tells us that a subject 
is unnecessary or dangerous, we should ask ourselves why 
we have this opinion. Reason and reflection may inform 
us that there can be no progress in man's moral and mental 
development if investigations are shirked on the plea that 
they are unpleasant, irksome or attended with certain 
risks. Is it not true that it is frequently those rnatters 
that arouse resistance in the mind which are of the very 
deepest moment ? 

Psychoanalysis explains the origin and the meaning of 
the inner censor who whispers that we had better avoid 
this or that inquiry. It reveals the dominance of the sub- 
conscious, enlightens us concerning our deep-seated pre- 
judices, dreads and intellectual cowardice, and clears and 
invigorates the conscious mind. The new researches in 
psychology have let in a stream of light upon the mysteries 
of mental disease, the bewildering problems of sex, the 
significance of myth and legend, the association of art and 
life, the subject of education, the development of the mind 
of the child and the social customs of mankind. 

The theories of Freud demand the careful attention of 


teachers. I can only outline very briefly the chief principle 
of the newest psychology. The theory is based on the 
tendency of primal desire and volition to come into con- 
flict with the moral sense and the ethical ideas of civilised 
society. This struggle for the modern man or woman, 
and perhaps especially for woman, is more or less con- 
tinuous and subjects us all to severe repressions. A re- 
pressed wish or tendency is not banished. It remains 
alive, though apparently controlled, and works in the mind 
in a mysterious secret way. The wish or impulsion, being 
opposed to our moral or social conceptions, has to be 
censored or held in firm check. This conflict may become 
a " complex " in the subconscious self, causing mental 
perplexity, depression or various forms of minor neurosis. 

In dreams the unfulfilled wish manifests itself symbolic- 
ally. The vision is symbolic, because the wish is some- 
thing that the subject refuses to confront directly. Dreams 
give us glimpses of what we really crave. They afford 
startling instances of our real and deepest tendencies to the 
psychoanalyst trained in their interpretation. A dream 
may be described as a revelation to the consciousness of a 
drama played in the subconscious mind, or the working of 
a powerful desire that the dreamer has tried to expel from 
waking thoughts. 

Psychoanalysts cautiously dissect and examine dreams 
for a clue to repressed tendencies. They also make use 
of the " association method," in which a selected list of 
words is repeated to the subject, who replies as quickly as 
he can with a single-word image called up by the test word. 
If the response is slow to a particular word, that word 
possesses considerable personal psychic significance. For 
example, if the person under examination cannot respond 
rapidly to the word "father," the delay might be accepted 
as pointing to a " father complex." The man who ponders 
for some seconds upon the association of " father," and then 
says " severe," gives the psychoanalyst an illuminating 
reply. But his response may be far less plainly significant, 
and it is the task of the analyst to divine the true meaning 
of an apparently irrelevant reply. 

For the normally minded, psychoanalysis cannot fail to 
prove helpful, and it is a mistake to suppose that the method 


is only useful in the cure of psychopathic symptoms. 
Any research that will enable us to understand in the 
degree some of the profound and apparently inscrutable 
mysteries of the operation of the normal mind is highly 
valuable. It is probable that the psychoanalytic method 
will be widely employed in the future in the difficult Held 
of ethical training. Professor Jung's remarkable work 
upon The Psychology of the Unconscious should be studied 
by every teacher and sociologist. The psychoanalytic 
literature is increasing steadily in England, America and 
the Continental countries. 1 

" Know thyself " is the injunction of ancient wisdom. 
Every thinking human being is a mystery to himself or 
herself. We are bewildered by our temptations, surging 
impulses, moral defections, frustration of powerful yearn- 
ings and vestigial relics of superstition and fantasy. The 
psychic conflict impels some to drugs and alcoholic stimu- 
lants, and drives others into neurosis, depression of mind, 
morbid anxiety and weariness of life. A single shock to 
the mind in childhood may give rise to highly complicated 
mental and nervous symptoms in after life. The new in- 
vestigations into the subconscious mind, the origin of our 
perplexities and dreads, and their reaction upon thought 
and conduct are clearing away a cloud of primitive mis- 
conceptions and hindering delusions. 

If the prospective teacher cannot purge himself from 
hindering reactions and realise that this is one of the most 
urgent of all reforms in education he is certainly unfitted 
for a solemn task. On the other hand, if the aspirant feels 
keenly, and is impelled to the vocation by moral enthusiasm, 
humanism and a devotion to truth, he will find that there 
are no insurmountable obstructions in the path of self- 
tuition. There is now a wide literature of biology, physi- 
ology and sex psychology in Europe and America. This 
ranges from the primer to the advanced text-book. The 
teacher with the right mental attitude to the subject and 
an aptitude for study need not be deterred because he or 
she has not undergone a lengthy scientific training. 

'See list of books for teachers, Chapter IV., Part III. The 
principal English contributors to this study are Ernest Jones, 
Maurice Nicol, and in America A. A. Brill and Dr White. 


A thoroughly educated science master might possess 
the technical knowledge and yet lack enthusiasm for this 
teaching. Undoubtedly the scientific spirit is of prime 
importance. But we must avoid the dry-bone method of 
instruction as cautiously as we steer clear of undue emotion- 
ality. Our teaching should be soundly scientific, with an 
admixture of aesthetics and poetry. The moral aspect 
of the subject must not become a dreary exhortation, but 
hopeful, practically helpful and inspiring. 

Knowledge of the reproduction of plants is necessary, 
and this may be learned from the standard manuals of 
botany. The evolution of sex should be studied from the 
unicellulars and the infusoria on to the multicellular 
organisms and the sperm and egg producing animals up 
to man. The expansion of the psychic influences as we 
rise in the evolutionary scale should be especially noted, 
and ample illustrations are to be found in the courtship 
and mating of birds and quadrupeds. Entomology will 
assist in explaining reproductive processes. 

The physiology of human reproduction should be care- 
fully studied from the standard text-books before the study 
of sexual pyschology. Some knowledge of sex pathology 
is necessary. Genetics and eugenics should be part of the 
preparatory course. Anthropology should be included. 

It is true that the full study of any one of these branches 
of science is the labour of years or a whole lifetime. The 
teacher cannot master all these subjects ; but he can 
understand their importance and scope and acquaint 
himself with the rudiments and the essential facts for the 
instruction of the young. 


Whether the instruction is given individually or in 
classes, the teacher should formulate a clear scheme. 
The following is a short suggested plan of instruction : 

Embryology. Explain at the outset how life began with 
protoplasm. Show an egg as an illustration of a cell, and 
point out the great diversity in size of cells from the minutely 
microscopic to the fowl's egg. Explain the process of cell 
division, fission and budding, and pass on to reproduction 


by the sexual method, the union of the sperm and the 
ovum. This may be explained to young children by 
the examination of anthers, pistils and stamens. Cite 
the potato as an instance of a continuation of a sexual 
generation i.e. by growth from seed or tubers. The 
di (Terence between the body or somatic cells and the 
germinal cells should be pointed out and their use ex- 
plained. Various seeds of plants can be shown as germs. 
Eggs of insects, such as the cabbage butterfly or the silk- 
worm moth, should be shown. Take a poppy seed and 
describe how this minute germ contains the determinants 
of size, height, colour and other qualities of the full-grown 
plant. Some examples of heredity may be given in plants, 
insects, animals and man showing the wonders of the germ 

Nature Study. Children should be taken for country 
rambles and taught how to use the senses of vision and 
hearing. Encourage them to observe wayside plants and 
to distinguish different kinds of birds. The variation in 
the plumage of male and female birds should be indicated. 
In springtime nests may be examined. There should be 
attention directed to the chivalry and courage of male 
birds and their solicitude for the mate and the young. 
Lessons of ethical value can be learned by the altruism and 
devotion of sentinel birds among the gregarious species, 
industry and skill in building the home, and ingenuity 
in providing for the fledglings. Numerous instances of 
parental care and bravery may be given, and examples of 
the affection of mated pairs. 

The country-side is a huge open volume of fairy lore 
which cannot fail to interest children if the teacher possesses 
the right aptitude and knowledge. Natural history study 
can be made as fascinating as sport. Birds and animals 
can be stalked and watched at work or play. Bloodless 
hunting for insects, birds and animals will stimulate interest 
in nature, train the faculties, teach perseverance, patience 
and concentration, and provide a healthy hobby of great 
educational value. 

Children should collect the eggs of butterflies and moths, \ 
await the emergence of the larv;e, and keep them during the 
caterpillar and chrysalis stages until the full-grown insect 


(imago) leaves the pupa case. Differences in secondary 
sexual characters of insects, form and colour, may be 
observed. The life history of the mayfly and of insects 
born from ova dropped into water is an interesting study 
for most intelligent children. 

Sitting under an oak in autumn, the instructor may 
instance the lavishness of nature in providing the seed, 
and explain that only a tiny proportion of the scattered 
acorns will grow into trees. Explanation may be made 
why the seed is so profuse in plants and animals. The 
ova of salmon and other fish may be instanced. Children 
like object lessons ; therefore many different life germs 
should be shown to them from the seeds of common flowers 
and vegetables to birds' eggs, frog spawn and the roe of fish. 

Ponds are alluring to children, and almost any pool 
contains interesting creatures. The humble three-spined 
stickleback may be seen building his nest and guarding 
the mate and her life germs. In spring the gaudy attiring 
of the male fish should be noted. Frog spawn may be 
examined and tadpoles watched as they merge into frogs. 
The adornment of the male newt in the pairing season, the 
hatching out of aquatic insects from the mud, the spawning 
of fish and the pairing and nesting of moorhens, coots and 
dabchicks are among a few of the manifold object lessons 
afforded by a pond. 

The farmyard is another field of research. Lessons in 
parental devotion may be learned from fowls, cows, pigs 
and sheep. The protective instinct of the cock is instanced 
in his agitation and solicitude for the hens when a hawk 
appears. Devotion is shown by the mother bird in shelter- 
ing her brood and denying herself of the choicest morsels 
of food. Children should see the chick emerge from the 
egg. The keeping of pet animals should be encouraged. 
By means of nature study an intelligent teacher can im- 
part a knowledge of the immune reproductive energy in all 
living things and explain incidentally some of the methods 
of generation. Many important introductory lessons in sex 
education may be learned in the woods, and on the moors 
and hills. This pleasant form of study is more attractive 
than any classroom teaching. 

Physiology. From puberty onwards it is necessary that 


tho inquiries of UK' boy or girl should he nuswered frankly. 
\Ye must tell our pupils the truth. This requires \ 
knowledge, insight into character, tact, candour and 
sympathy. Physiological tuition need not be purely 
anatomical or histological. It can be made even romantic 
and poetic without endangering scientific fact. 

A clear exposition of reproduction in mankind may be 
desired by a naturally curious boy or girl. This may be 
given in private talks between the tutor and the pupil. 
In the case of serious students of from sixteen to twenty, 
it may be possible to give class lectures on sexual 
physiology, especially if the students have been gradually 
prepared for this course. But at the present stage in the 
development of sex teaching many teachers agree that 
private instruction is the better method in the majority 
of schools. 

At the outset the instructor should stress the intimate 
connection of the brain and the sexual system. The 
structure of the reproductive organs should be explained, 
their rapid development at puberty, their high racial pur- 
pose and their hygienic care. The difference in the germ 
cells of man and woman should be shown. Several volumes 
,on reproduction contain illustrations of the spermatozoon 
and the ovum. Young men and women of the nubile age 
are likely to ask direct questions concerning the physical 
union of the sexes. They may be betrothed and on the 
eve of marriage and yet lack much necessary knowledge. 

The more pertinent questions can be answered in a 
perfectly grave, dispassionate and seemly manner, and it is 
safe to state that the honesty and frankness of the teacher 
will win the gratitude and respect of the inquirers. The 
experienced married adult often fails in apprehension of 
the very acute and often terribly perplexing conflicts of the 
mind endured by unenlightened or half-enlightened young 
men and maidens who are about to marry. This whole- 
some demand for physiological and hygienic knowledge 
must be gratified by explicit and honest information. So 
profound is the prevailing ignorance of sex that it is often 
necessary to frame answers in the very simplest language. 
Decent-minded youths, who may only know the vulgar 
terms for the racial organs, are frequently ashamed to 


speak of them. The Latin words used by educated persons 
should be explained by the teacher. 

There are now several reliable volumes upon marital 
hygiene which may be safely recommended to young men 
and women upon entering married life. Some of these are 
in the list in another chapter of this book. 1 

Sex Psychology. This includes the study of human sex 
selection, the evolution of modesty, the relation of the 
amative impulse to the main activities of the mind, the 
development of sexuality in childhood, and adolescence and 
its normal manifestations in the adult life, the origin and 
nature of aberrations of instinct, the question of sex educa- 
tion, the emotional and mental differences in the sexes, 
discussion of the forms of human marriage, inquiry into 
the source and the practice of sexual morality, and various 
sociological considerations. 

This comprehensive subject cannot be neglected by the 
earnest teacher, social reformer, physician, alienist, jurist 
and clergyman. It is at the basis of a practical sociology. 
It is a fundamental part of the ethics of sex. It is a key 
to the study of human nature. 

Interest in the psychology of sex is seldom shown by 
adolescents. Most of the volumes on the subject are too 
scientific in temper and in terminology to appeal to the 
average young man. Moreover, they are costly and in 
some instances difficult to obtain. For the teacher the 
study is indispensable for a comprehensive view of the 
interaction of body and mind in the sexual sphere, for an 
understanding of development of the sex life and as the 
bed-rock of rational sex ethics. Even a little psychological 
knowledge may protect both young men and young women 
from the perils of life, and assist them in choosing the right 
partner and in making marriage harmonious. 

Anthropology is a great storehouse of data for the guidance 
of teachers in the evolution of human love and sex relation- 
ships. All pedagogues should be acquainted with the 
works of Frazer, Crawley, Hartland, Reclus, Heape, 
Westermarck and Jung. The sex question of to-day 
cannot be viewed with adequate knowledge if the study 
of man's erotic development from the primitives of the 
1 See pages 179 to 184 


human race up to the civilised human beings of our own 
time. Anthropology lets in the light upon tin- origin of 
the fear of the sex force, the me;miiu; of surviving taboos, 
the part played by symbolism in culture, the socialising 
influence of the amatory impulse and the moral problems 
of sex. 

Hygiene of Sex. This is of paramount importance. 
The care of the reproductive organs and functions involves 
both physical and psychic direction. If the reverent, 
non-prudish and non-prurient attitude is encouraged from 
the earliest years of childhood there will be solicitude for 
the preservation of the health of the whole body. Respect 
for the body engenders regard for hygiene. 

Both sexes should be told the importance of frequent 
local ablution, as well as cleansing the whole surface of the 
skin. Indolent, ease-loving adolescents should be advised 
to find some congenial amusement necessitating free 
exercise of the muscles. Compulsory sports or athletics 
are not advisable ; but everything should be done to 
stimulate a liking for the open air and active exercise. 
Diet must be sufficient and plain. Regularity of bowel 
function is essential. Special instruction is necessary for 
girls on the hygiene of menstruation. 

The aim of the parent and teacher should be to substitute 
vigorous games, inducing a wholesome excitement, as a 
counteracting force to the excitation wont to arise from 
mental causes when the body is habitually inactive. Lying 
awake in bed after a good night's sleep should be dis- 
couraged. Over-fatigue must be avoided ; for nerve and 
muscle tiredness, causing restlessness and wakefulness, is 
often an exciting factor. Needful discrimination must be 
used in recommending fatiguing exertion to the young. 
On the other hand, endurance and hardness must be 
fostered. The point of importance is not to urge the too 
willing child to activity that produces a depressing fatigue. 
The feeling of tiredness should not be that of painful 

Sexual perversities and bad habits must be checked as 
early as possible by therapeutic confidential talks and 
appeals to the emotions. It must be repeated once again 
that dire threats, violent denunciations and unsympathetic 


reproaches should be avoided. All counsel must be inspired 
by sympathy, the cultivation of self-respect, honour for the 
generative power, and idealistic views upon the love of 
the sexes. Overstatement of mental and physical risks, as 
many high authorities assert, may produce the very results 
that we wish to combat. 

Sexual Ethics. Moral teaching must have a psychological 
basis. Facts must be faced boldly. There must be no 
pretence that the struggle for chaste living in a powerfully 
sexed young man is very simple. The striving may be 
likened to a stern athletic contest and moral mettle and 
resistance aroused in the youth. It should be insisted 
that strength of will is manly, that virility endures if it has 
not been abused and that happy married love is the ultimate 
reward of a process of training in restraint. Both sexes 
should look forward to an early marriage as the right state 
of life in maturity. There should be warning against 
entering conjugality without deep affection. 

Warnings against the dangers of flippancy, vulgarity and 
indecency in our view of sexual matters are imperative. 
A clear distinction between scientific interest and a shame- 
faced, idle curiosity must be explained with great care. 
Many persons of reputed education still fail to perceive the 
difference between lascivious speculation and wholesome 
ethical and psychological inquiry. 

Instruction concerning the perils of venereal diseases is 
a part of both hygienic and moral enlightenment. This 
matter cannot be shirked. Many adolescents fall into 
danger through sheer ignorance. Mere vague exhortations 
to purity are inadequate. The evil must be shown in all its 
bearings upon the individual, the family, the community 
and the nation. The warnings must begin at puberty. 
We cannot dismiss our responsibility to youth and the 
coming generations by pleading that the subject is " unfit 
for discussion in polite society," "unsavoury" or 
" revolting." The consequences of these diseases are 
undoubtedly disastrous and repulsive. For this reason 
every means of prevention and cure must be employed, and 
the preventive measures must begin with the instilling of 
respect for the procreative power, refined ideas upon sex 
love and an enlightened social sense. 


The basis of sexual morality is the recognition of tin* 
rights and claims of others and the desire to shun the 
infliction of injury to our neighbours. When it is known 
that an enormous number of young men fall victims to 
one or another of the two pernicious diseases resulting from 
prostitution and reckless promiscuous intercourse, it is 
criminal neglect to refrain from plain speaking. If venereal 
affections can be reduced remarkably in a short time, as 
in the case of Bosnia, by the institution of public instruction 
upon this social peril, it is obvious that the spreading of 
knowledge in other countries is likely to prove equally 
efficacious. The tremendous increase of these diseases 
during the European War calls for a continued vigorous 

The bulk of young men are still disposed to treat 
gonorrhoea lightly. Owing to our amazing ignorance of all 
matters appertaining to the sexual life and the darkening 
of the subject of this racial poisoning, the view persists 
that this infection leaves no after-effects and that it can 
be cured in a few days. Need we wonder that tens of 
thousands of the erring and the innocent surfer through the 
consequences of these concealed infections ? It is not 
only the vicious who are punished. Chaste wives are 
constantly infected by their husbands, little children con- 
tract the diseases, and infants are exposed to this terrible 

Young men should be told that neglected gonorrhoea often 
produces permanent injury, such as the blood-poisoning 
known as septicaemia, inflammation of the bladder, 
kidney affections, disease of the prostate and the urethra, 
and some of the worst forms of arthritic or joint rheuma- 
tism. Dr Kidd ascribes many cases of chronic joint 
inflammation, incapacitating the victims from work, to 
gonorrhceal infection in early life. The results upon women 
are even more appalling. Many physicians attribute fifty 
cases of sterility out of a hundred to this cause. The 
poison often penetrates to the ovaries and sets up serious 
conditions. Sepsis is apt to occur after child-birth. Some 
cases of abortion are due to this ravaging ailment. Iritis 
may affect the eyes, and blindness in the newly born 
is a common result. This specific ophthalmia is highly 


infectious, and often attacks persons living regular lives. 
Much uterine trouble is attributed to gonorrhoea. 

The immediate symptoms of syphilis and the devastat- 
ing effects of its sequelae should be explained to both sexes 
at puberty. As many are poisoned soon after puberty, 
and some before, the need for timely monition is manifest. 
Syphilitic poisons are liable to assail any part of the body 
long after the disappearance of the primary symptoms. 
The spirochoetes (germs) find their way into the vital organs 
and sometimes reach the heart and cause angina pectoris. 
They penetrate the brain and the nerves, producing 
meningitis, paralysis of one side of the body or of the legs. 
General paralysis of the insane is another manifestation 
of syphilitic disease. Locomotor ataxy is one serious 
sequel. Dementia may be caused. Blindness is far from 

Syphilis is heritable, and the offspring are often attacked 
by convulsions, inflammation of the mucous membranes, 
wasting of the tissues, bad growth of the teeth, deafness 
and mental defectiveness and idiocy. Premature births 
and still-births are a common consequence. 

It is apparent that ethical admonition to purity should be 
supported by clear statement of the physical and mental 
tragedies arising from venereal contagion. The dangers 
can be indicated without terrifying the young man into the 
belief that it is impossible to escape them whether one is 
chaste or unchaste, and inducing the morbid dread known 
as syphiliphobia. It should, however, be pointed out that 
the risks for the loose-living are extremely high, and that 
one hour of dissipation may be the source of suffering and 
sorrow for a lifetime. There may well be stress on the 
sordidness of mercenary intercourse of the sexes, the social 
injustice involved by committing women to a life of 
disgrace, the coarsening and brutalising effect of prostitu- 
tion, the perils to the race and the serious risk of loss of 
virility and a capacity for happy married love. 



THE appropriate opportunity for beginning to teach the 
child the rudiments of reproduction usually occurs in the 
first stages of childhood. Wonder often arises in the mind 
of a boy or girl at the birth of a brother or sister, or at the 
breeding of domestic animals and household pets. Questions 
are addressed to the parents as to the origin of life. Whence 
comes the infant? How does the mother know that a 
new child will be born ? These are interrogations that 
occupy the mind of every intelligent child. Even when 
there is no direct questioning, the parent may still assure 
himself or herself that the child is speculative and curious. 

Frank-natured children who have not been repressed 
unduly are sure to ask direct questions. This frankness 
must be met with parental candour, sympathy and tact. 
Prompt and kindly response to the inquiries is essential 
from the outset. A loving talk must precede all formal 
scientific education, and the impression made by this 
candid conversation prepares the way for later and fuller 
instruction in the school or lecture-room. 

It is obvious that the child who questions the mother 
has a natural confidence. Every means should be observed 
to cherish this good faith and not to divert it nor to impair 
it in any way. The mere statement that God " sends " 
babies, or that storks bring them to the parents, does not 
satisfy the average child. Most children show a capacity 
for rational thinking, and even the infantile mind is 
sometimes astonishingly logical. 

Let it, then, be taken for granted that the mother desires 
to impart the necessary knowledge to her child as early 
as possible in mental growth. This period may be ten 
years before the coming of the pubertal development 

P 49 


The child of three or four may make inquiry in a perfectly 
natural manner. Although there must be certain differ- 
ences in the method of instructing boys and girls of the age 
of fourteen, younger children may be taught on a similar 
plan. It is never advisable to accentuate too strongly the 
sexual differentiations in childhood. What is fitting for 
the boy to know should be also fitting for the girl in the 
graduated lessons of sex physiology. 


The examples of sex instruction that follow may, of 
course, be modified, amplified or revised at the discretion 
of the teacher, and in regard to the age, intelligence and 
idiosyncrasy of the pupil. The language should be simple 
and homely. The poetic and symbolic can be blended with 
practical enlightenment, and the whole subject rendered 
interesting as well as serious. In words such as these the 
mother may reply to her young child's first questionings : 


You were very surprised this morning when you found 
that pussy had four beautiful little kittens cuddling up 
to her, and you have asked me where the kittens came from. 
It seems very wonderful that yesterday there were no 
kitties, and to-day there are four of them, all alive and 
hungry. But the kittens were growing for a long time, 
safe and warm in the body of their mother. It needed 
many weeks for them to get ready to come into the world 
as soft, warm, furry kittens. You see that their eyes are 
still closed, and that they are weak on their legs, and not 
able yet to romp about, as they will do in a few weeks' 
time. When you were born you could not see at all 
clearly for some days, and if I had made a sudden loud 
noise you would not have heard it. 

In a few days the kittens will see, and they will begin to 
know you by sight. And now I will tell you how the 
kittens grew in the body of their mother, because I want 
you to learn what a wonderful thing life is, and how all the 


birds and the animals and men and women are born. 
Thf kittens grew from tiny seeds or eggs in the body of 
their mother. You know that if I take a pea and put it 
under the ground in the garden that the warm earth will 
make it grow. In a few weeks a little sprout shows above 
the soil, and soon it becomes a tiny leaf, and goes on grow- 
ing till it climbs up a tall stick. If you like to put some 
seeds of cress on a piece of wet flannel you will be giving 
life to a plant. This is very wonderful and you can try 
it for yourself. 

The seed from which the kittens come is very tiny indeed. 
But it grows and grows and is fed by the mother's blood. 
You know that puss has been hungrier lately. That was 
because much of the food that she ate had to feed the kittens 
that were growing within her. Now perhaps you under- 
stand that all living things come from seed or eggs, just like 
trees and plants grow from seed sown in the earth. 

In old days men used to call the earth " the Great 
Mother " and " Mother Earth," because the earth is the 
mother of the huge oak-trees that spring from acorns and 
of the lovely flowers of the garden. And the plants and 
the vegetables that grow on the earth are the food of many 
animals, such as elephants, camels, cows and sheep. 

When the kittens were big enough to be born they 
wanted to leave the body of the mother and come into the 
light. So they found their way out through a part of the 
body which has been called the gateway of life. And now 
you see they are quite alive and drinking the milk that is 
made in the breasts of the mother. 


This morning let us walk across the meadow to the 
copse and look for birds' nests. I want to show you a 
blackbird's home, or nest, with the eggs in it, which will 
in a few days become little birds with large, hungry, gaping 
mouths and almost naked bodies. I think we shall find 
a nest in that blackthorn bush with the pretty white 
blossoms showing. Do you know that those blossoms 
will turn into little sour plums called sloes, and that some 


of the sloes will fall on the ground and after some time 
make other sloe or blackthorn bushes ? You see again 
that all living things come from seeds or eggs. 

Now I have found a blackbird's nest with bluey eggs 
spotted with brown. There are five of them. Each one 
has a tiny bird in it, and the eggs were dropped in the 
nicely made nest by the hen or mother. You know there 
are two sexes in birds the males or cocks, and the females 
or hens. The hens are the mothers and the cocks are the 
fathers. The father bird is blacker than the mother bird, 
and he has an orange beak. He is very fond of the mother 
bird, and keeps near her for many weeks in the spring. 
While the hen is sitting on the eggs to keep them warm 
and make the birds in them, the father goes to find food for 
her. He sits on a bough not far from the nest and often 
sings a cheerful song to his wife or mate. When the young 
birds are hatched, the male bird feeds both them and the 
mother, and keeps watch against enemies, such as hawks 
and crows, or cruel children. 

If you feel one of the eggs you will find that it is warm. 
If it gets cold the little bird inside will die. After several 
days the chicken in the egg has a few feathers, and his beak 
grows. When he is ready to come out he picks a hole in 
the shell, pushes his head through and wriggles out. The 
eggs grow in the body of the hen, and in March or April 
she has the nest all ready to lay the eggs in. But before 
she begins to make the nest she finds a male bird, or mate. 
She chooses him because he is strong and brave and kind. 
The hen knows that she must have a protector while she is 
sitting on the eggs and attending to the young ones, and 
she wants a mate to help her to build the home. Just as 
your father and I love one another and you, so the male 
and female blackbirds love one another and their family. 


You have seen the blackbird's eggs and learned some- 
thing about how birds are born. To-day I want to tell 
you about butterflies. Come into the garden and let us 
look for butterfly eggs. Here are some on this cabbage 


loaf, little specks all clustered together. Inside those 
ks of eggs are tiny grubs, or caterpillars, waiting to be 
born. One day they will bore their way out of the eggs 
and begin to feed on the leaves. They have strong jaws 
and are able to eat large holes in the leaves. When the 
caterpillars are big they seem to get sleepy and tired. 
They leave off eating and a shell begins to grow over them. 
They then turn into pupae or chrysalises. The chrysalis 
lies as though it was dead ; but it is not really so. Inside 
the shell a white butterfly is forming. 

It is very strange and wonderful that the butterfly, 
which only lives for a few days, should be so long in the 
making. First it is an egg in the body of the mother 
butterfly and is laid on the cabbage leaf. Then it becomes 
a caterpillar and eats hungrily till it changes to a chrysalis ; 
and at last the perfect insect, a fine white butterfly with 
black-spotted wings, comes into the sunshine and flies 
about, seeking for a mate. 

If the butterfly is a female, or mother, she soon gets eggs 
in her and looks for a nice young cabbage on which to lay 
them. When she has done this her life's work is over 
and she soon dies. But she leaves behind her a great 
number of eggs, which are the beginnings of more butter- 


I have told you something about birds, butterflies and 
kittens and how they all come from eggs or seeds. Let us 
talk to-day about fish and how they are born. It is a 
curious thing that the egg of a salmon is very much bigger 
than the egg of many animals that are much larger. We 
call the eggs of salmon roe. A salmon's egg is almost as 
large as a pea. It is like jelly, and if you drop it on the 
floor it will bounce like a ball. Inside that little ball of 
jelly is the germ or seed of a fish that may grow to fifty 
pounds in weight. You know that a little acorn will make 
a huge oak. 

Only the female or mother salmon has eggs. She has 
very many thousands of them. In the autumn these egg[s 
swell and are called " ripe." This means that Nature is 


anxious for more salmon to be born. Nature always wants 
plants and animals to increase, and that is why she gives 
them an enormous quantity of eggs. 

When the mother salmon feels that she would like to get 
rid of some of the ripe eggs, she grows restless, and swims 
up the river to the higher part, where the water flows over 
a nice clean gravel bed. On the way she meets the father 
salmon, who goes with her. This is called pairing. In the 
spring the birds pair before they have young ones. We 
may say that the two salmon are a married pair, for they 
keep together for many weeks. The place where the 
female salmon lays her eggs is called the redd or spawning 
bed. Before she lays the eggs, the male salmon helps her 
to make a number of little hollows in the gravelly bed of 
the stream. The eggs are passed from the body of the 
mother salmon into the holes, and both the father and 
mother keep watch over them for some time. 

But the mother salmon cannot make young salmon 
without the help of the father. If she laid the eggs and 
nothing was done to them they would never become little 
fish. So the male salmon covers them with milky stuff, 
called milt, to make them fruitful or fertile. This means 
that the milt must be added to the eggs before tiny salmon 
can be born. 


You know now that both the male (or man) salmon and 
the female (or woman) come together to bring young ones 
into life. In plants we shall find the male and female, as 
we do in animals. Some plants are both male and female 
in one, but in others they are separate plants. You have 
tasted dates. These fruits grow on big trees. One tree 
may be called the father and another the mother, and unless 
the two grow near together there will be no young dates. 

When plants have flowers the male or father part is 
called the stamen and the mother or female part is called 
the pistil. Before the little plant can grow in the seed 
a powder called pollen from the stamen must fall on the 
pistil. I have told you that Nature wishes many animals 
to be born. She is just as anxious that there shall be 


trees and flowers ; so she provides plenty of seed. In 
the " clock " of a dandelion, the feathery seeds that you 
often blow into the air, arc as many as 240,000. Some of 
these thousands upon thousands of feathers, after dropping 
to the ground, turn into little dandelions. 

Some plants are able to make seed by the help of the 
wind, which blows the pollen on to the pistil. These are 
called wind-loved plants. Other plants grow seed through 
the work of insects, and especially the busy bees, that come 
to the flowers for honey. If you notice a bumble bee you 
will see powder or pollen on his hairy body, and this pollen 
is left on the pistils of flowers to make new flowers bloom 
on new plants. 

The flowers that insects visit are generally very brightly 
coloured, scarlet, yellow or blue, and they have sugar or 
honey in them. While the bee is getting honey to eat and 
to store up for the winter, he does not know that he is 
helping to make plants. In hot countries, where there are 
very tiny birds, known as humming-birds, plants are in- 
creased by these birds carrying the pollen from one flower 
to another. 

Young plants are not born from the bodies of other 
plants, but from Mother Earth. The seed falls from the 
plants when it is dry and ripe and lies on the ground, 
sometimes covered by dead leaves, and in time it bursts 
and the shoot of a baby plant comes above the soil. 


In some very curious living creatures, such as worms 
that you see in the garden and leeches that swim in ponds, 
the father and mother part are in the same animal. It is 
when we begin to learn about the higher kinds of animals, 
the birds, four-legged things and men, that we find the 
father part and the mother part in two different persons. 
Some animals are nothing more than a skin, a stomach 
and a mouth, like certain kinds of live sponges. Creatures 
of this kind grow new creatures out of themselves by 
casting off parts of their bodirs. Amon- the rocks of 
mountains are beautiful white crystals which grow to a 


certain size and then make other crystals. * It is so with 
some sorts of animal beings. 

When the mother part and father part are found in the 
same living creature it is able to have young by very tiny 
specks of the two parts coming together. The mother part 
is generally much larger than the father part. Some 
oysters have both parts and others only one. The same 
thing is seen in garden slugs. In some water-animals the 
father part and mother part fall from the animal and come 
together to make a new being. Sometimes these two-in- 
one animals can separate themselves into two halves. 
This is called cleavage or division. One of the animals 
that splits off parts of the body to make another living 
creature is the sea- anemone, and another is the jelly-fish. 


You have asked me how you came to life and I will tell 
you. You have learned already several interesting and 
wonderful things about the coming to life of some insects, 
birds, fishes and cats. When your father and I knew that 
we loved one another, and were married, I hoped that I 
might have a baby of my very own and so did your father. 

One day I felt that a little live creature was beginning to 
grow in me, and I knew that I should have a child. For 
several months you grew inside me, safe and warm, not far 
below my heart. At first you were only a seed, but month 
by month you began to shape into a little boy. I could not 
tell then whether you would be a boy or a girl and I did 
not know till you were born. 

You lay in a nest, which grew larger while you were 
growing, and before you came into the world, through the 
gateway of life, I knew that you were alive and getting 
bigger, because sometimes I could feel you moving. Some 
of the food that I ate came to you from my blood, which 
passed through your little body and made you strong. 

At last you had grown big enough to come into the world 
and to leave the warm nest. Like the chickens in the egg, 
you wanted to come out, and you found the way. When 
you were born you were tiny and helpless, and felt cold 


after being in the nest. I was very happy when I saw 
my dear little son, and took him in my arms to warm and 
feed him. For a long time you were fed on the milk from 
my breasts. When you grew bigger your teeth began to 
come and you were able to chew food. 

That is how my son came to life. He is a part of myself, 
and that is why I love him and he loves me. 

Now I have explained all that you want to know. If 
anyone tells you any different story it will not be true. 


When you are older and want to learn, and can under- 
stand some things better, you will learn about the body, 
or the living house in which you breathe. It is a very 
wonderful machine and so wonderful that even wise men 
are still learning something new about it. I wish you to 
know while you are quite young that the body is precious 
and that you must take care of it, and understand it, like 
you would take care of something that you valued very 

All animals that have bony backbones are called verte- 
brates. You and I are vertebrates. Some animals, as 
you know, do not get milk from their mothers when they 
are little. You and I were fed on our mothers' milk, 
and we are called mammals. We are the highest kinds 
of mammals in the world. This is chiefly because we can 
think much better than other animals. Our brains are 
what we think with, and we ought to learn how to think 
well, so that we may act rightly, keep ourselves well and 
be of use to others by acting wisely and kindly. 

If we do not know anything of our bodies we are sure 
to make mistakes sometimes. All children have to be 
taught what they should eat and drink, how to keep clean 
and other important matters. The monkeys, who are 
next below us among the mammals, know many things 
by instinct and do not need to be taught. But life 
is more difficult for human beings and without thought 
they would be worse off than many animals. If a 
young monkey is thrown into the water instinct will tell 


him how to swim. But a boy has to be taught how to 

The body can only be kept in order by warmth, air to 
breathe, food and drink, rest, work, play, and getting 
rid of waste things. This keeping the body clean outside 
and in is very important. A part of the useless matter 
that is amongst our food and drink must be sent away from 
the body. Some of it goes through the skin, which is full 
of millions of tiny holes, or pores, and is called sweat. If 
the body did not breathe through the skin it would soon 
die. Washing is necessary to remove some of the liquid, 
or sweat, that stops on the skin, and to keep the pores clean 
and open to the air. 

Another part of the waste stuff is passed out of the body 
through the bowels, below the waist. The outside passage 
is called the anus. The watery waste matter comes out 
in front of the body. Now I want to tell you that very 
silly little boys and girls, who have not been brought up 
properly, often make stupid remarks about these parts 
of the body. Don't pay any attention to them. There is 
really nothing to laugh at in this getting rid of substances 
not needed in the body. It is foolish to talk unnecessarily 
about these duties or to pretend that they are either 
shameful or funny. 

When you are older you will learn more about the uses 
of certain parts or organs of the body ; but until you are 
big enough to understand, just think of them as sensibly 
as you do about the eyes or the ears. I mention the parts 
now because I want you to use them properly all your life. 
Very much pain and illness come from not attending 
regularly to getting rid of the unwanted matter through the 
two passages. Many men and women are ill all their lives 
because they have not formed a good habit in this way 
when they were children. 

The urine, or water from the body, should be passed off 
directly the feeling is uncomfortable, and you should make 
the same rule about the excrement, or unwanted matter, 
from the bowels. I can hardly tell you how important 
it is to remember this. It is a matter that concerns not 
only the body but the mind. Your happiness depends 
very much on your doing these duties regularly. Many 


them from bad to worse. This does not mean that 

lould countenance sin and vice. But we should try 

to uplift the fallen by sympathy and love, recognising always 

that we are none of us free from sin, though some kinds of 

temptation may not trouble us. 

Prudery is not clean-mindedness and is opposed to true 

^sty. Many persons who are innately immodest and 

v y' prurient minds assume an extreme attitude of pro- 

..*' ty as a disguise. The modest woman is not shocked 

1 he manifestations of life, but by the misuse of the love 

impulse, by vice, vulgarity and the affectation of shame 

for harmless things. 


The union of lovers in wedlock brings new happiness and 

new responsibilities into their lives. When two are made 

one by the solemn conjugal bond each partner enters upon 

a great adventure full of golden promise. The natural and 

^oral sanction for marriage is love, which has grown out 

c y r ong mutual attraction and courtship. Without 

^ 2c on and the desire for companionship there can be 

/^f'le union of man and woman. 

Before a maiden consents to marriage she should under- 
stand the full moaning of the conjugal life and its duties. 
The dreams of youth are often misleading, and when the 
feelings are ardent, prudent reflection and self-examination 
are often overwhelmed by emotion. An infatuation blinds 
many to the defects and failings of the loved person before 
marriage. Many girls marry without a passionate attach- 
ment to their suitors. Sometimes discontent and un- 
happiness urge them into a hasty marriage ; and there are 
some who look upon married life merely as a means of 
obtaining material comforts, luxuries, more liberty, or a 
better position in society. All these adjuncts to well- 
being may, however, fail to bring contentment to the heart 
Mn;in who is capable of a devoted love. The greatest 
in lif<- are not purchasable. There are deep spiritual 
need^ that only the things of the spirit can satisfy. 

v women pine amongst luxuries because their luait 
hunger is not appeased. They become nervous, prematurely 


old and frequently ill. Something vital is wanting in their 
lives, and this want cannot be gratified by the possession 
of money, a fine house and beautiful dresses. A wife may 
possess all these, and yet feel that she has been cheated 
of the chief heritage of woman, the love, sympathy and 
devotion of a good man. 

Girls of the marriageable age should know that men 
prone to sudden attractions for women through < 
physical charms, and that there are types of men who see: 
incapable of loving through admiration for mental or me, ex* 
qualities. A strong attraction towards the bodily virtues 
is an essential of true love in both man and woman. 
Broadly speaking, women seek strength and energy in 
men, and men seek beauty in women. But a passion arising 
only from the senses is seldom very lasting. There must be 
respect for character, recognition of fine moral qualities, and 
an affinity in intellectual tastes. 

A woman may be allured by a handsome man, and under 
the spell of this fascination she may overlook the fact that 
he is a spendthrift, or an idler, or lacking in the qualities 
of sympathy, understanding and kindness. Therefore the 
physical attraction alone is not a guarantee of an abiding 
affection. There must be the attraction of the mind and 
the spirit as well as the aesthetic or sensuous appeal. 

A young woman sought by a lover should assure herself 
that she loves him sincerely with body and spirit before she 
consents to marriage. She should be sure that he has no 
habit or strong desires that are likely to cause disharmony 
in married life. She should be tolerant of his little weak- 
nesses, and not censorious of his mistakes, and should 
demand the same consideration from her lover for her foibles 
and errors. There should be an agreement between the 
two to help one another in overcoming defects of tempera- 
ment. Even in an ardent love-marriage the small irrita- 
tions of daily life are liable to influence the pair, and tact 
and patience must be cultivated. 

Much of the spiritual beauty of marriage is dependent 
upon physiological harmony. The sacrament of wedlock 
is the union of bodies as well as spirits. We cannot truly 
love, in the conjugal sense, a person who is physically re- 
pugnant. Now, unfortunately, many girls enter marriage 


without proper comprehension of the very intimate nature 
of the physical union and its effect upon the mind and the 
emotions. We are beginning to realise that a large number 
of marriages are unhappy because of the spiritual dis- 
harmony arising from the lack of bodily affinity. Hence 
it behoves the prospective wife to acquaint herself with the 
I the conjugal life and the laws of reproduction. This 
>'dge may be gained from a well-informed married 
d, or from one of the scientific but plainly written 
uuctuuals on these subjects which have been published 
during the past five and twenty years. 

No woman would think of beginning a craft or profes- 
sion without preliminary preparation. The preparation for 
marriage is certainly of equal importance. And when we 
consider that our marriages do not concern us alone, but 
the children who will be born to us, the community in which 
we live and the generations to come, we are justified in 
saying that the knowledge essential for healthy conjugality 
is the highest of all. It should be considered a disgrace, if 
not a crime, to marry without understanding the principles 
of the force that is the very mainspring of humanity. 

The will to live rightly and the most exalted religious 
enthusiasm are not sufficient alone to guide us safely in 
matrimony. A desire for sound knowledge is in itself a 
moral or religious impulse. The earnest, spiritually minded 
man or woman strives after wisdom as a light for the feet. 
We know on the testimony of deeply religious, but far- 
sighted, clergymen that piety without knowledge of natural 
laws does not always ensure noble living, or protect us 
from committing grave mistakes. Moral zeal supported by 
sound knowledge must be our watchword. 

It is the main object of these lessons to convince you that 
body and mind are inseparable, mutually dependent and 
continually affected one by the other. The loveliest flower- 
ing of the soul has its physical origin and precedents, and 
the thoughts of the brain flash their messages to the re- 
motest organs of the body. Pity causes the heart-throb, 
and there is truth in the old saying that the bowels move 
with compassion. The brain poisoned by the acids of 
fatigue gives rise to gloomy, apprehensive ideas. When 
the brain is flushed with healthy blood the dejection 


vanishes, suspicions and dreads are allayed, and the sad 
man of yesterday assures himself that life has its hours of 
supreme rapture. 

Throughout nature we find proof that mating is attended 
with joy and pleasure. This is essential for the continuance 
of the species. Human marriage is the source of the highest 
happiness. But human love is an intensely complicated 
emotion, and this very complexity in the pairing impu' 
in man is evidence of his wide differentiation from i 
animals immediately below him. The physical impulsion 
in man becomes subordinate in many instances to the 
spiritual longings, and these desires are more complex than 
the purely physical or the sensuous. This accentuation 
of the mental or spiritual yearnings brings certain risks 
of disharmony into marriage. The mental machinery of 
civilised men and women becomes highly intricate, delicate 
and liable to derangement. Civilisation increases and in- 
tensifies our emotional desires and creates new needs. 

This heightening of the emotional power in the love of 
mankind makes it imperative that the impulse should be 
directed by knowledge, and not left to the mercy of dying 
instincts. We need knowledge in marriage in order to 
preserve the fresh beauty of love. Much, perhaps most, of 
the unhappiness in married life is the direct result of 
ignorance. Men do not learn the true nature and the 
deepest desires of women, and women neglect the proper 
study of men. It is easy enough to say that men are 
happy if their wives give them good dinners, or that women 
are quite content with existence if their husbands are 
generous with money. We know from daily experience that 
excellent cooking does not constitute the highest human 
felicity for a vast number of husbands, and that many wives, 
with all the luxuries that wealth can procure, are utterly 
disappointed with marriage. 



THE hygiene of the reproductive system depends largely 
upon the general care of the body. Proper sanitation, 
judicious nutrition, suitable exercise, healthful clothing 
and careful ablution of the whole surface of the skin are 
essential for a hygienic sexuality. It is well known, for 
example, that insanitary overcrowding lowers vitality, and 
is a source of consumption and other diseases, and that 
congested living tends to heighten sex precocity. 

Very few parents make a scientific study of the impor- 
tant question of alimentation during infancy, childhood 
and adolescence. In the well-to-do orders young children 
are often overfed, and in the poorer classes a large number 
are under-nourished. Overfeeding is the bane of many 
children. How often are children stuffed with rich and 
stimulating food under the misapprehension that the more 
a child eats the stronger it will be. We see many young 
children of both sexes who are overfed. They are clumsy 
in their movements through obesity, and the excess in 
diet produces biliousness, skin rashes, boils, and prepares 
the soil for the development of disease in adult life. Though 
the body of a child requires fats, this does not indicate that 
constant fatty food in large quantities is beneficial. 

In school life many children do not receive sufficient 
nourishment for bodily upkeep and growth. The dietary 
in the better-class boarding schools has improved during 
the past fifty years ; but many adolescents are not 
sufficiently fed. For the maintenance of sexual, as well as 
general, health, the diet of childhood and youth must be 
plain, nutritive and non-stimulative. Flesh foods in undue 
quantity are injurious to children, and after puberty they 
tend to inflame latent sexual desire. There is no doubt 


that overeating actively stimulates eroticism in adolescents 
and adults. 

It is hardly necessary to caution parents against permit- 
ting children to take alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is one of 
the most potent of sexual stimulants. It quickly affects 
the blood vessels and the brain, and besides exciting desire, 
it relaxes the power of control. Wine has its value as a 
beverage in health and in some cases as a medicine. But ||f 
alcoholic drink is pernicious for children and should only 
be used with careful moderation by the adult. Excessive 
drinking undoubtedly slackens inhibition, coarsens the 
brain and arouses libidinous feeling. There is little doubt 
that the poisoned life germs of the intemperate produce 
diseased offspring. Epilepsy, idiocy, mental defectiveness 
and many other ailments of body and mind are noted in 
the descendants of heavy drinkers. 

We may not be able to check all the peripheral or spon- 
taneous excitations of an erotic character in the child. 
We can, however, greatly lessen the risk of external stimula- 
tion and artificial excitement. The physical stimuli are 
undue warmth of the skin caused by clothes and bed- 
coverings, too prolonged hot bathing, irritations in the genital 
and anal regions, a rich diet, all forms of luxurious living and 
flogging. 1 The mental excitations may be even more numer- 
ous, especially in the case of children of the wealthier classes. 
These arousing factors are over-excitement, late hours, 
suggestion through companions, the influence of erotic 
or indecent conversation, vulgar entertainments, obscene 
books and pictures, nervous anxiety from any cause, often 
producing a craving for relief, and a prudish upbringing. I 
believe the last to be the most potent of all. 

There is a tendency for almost any part of the skin to 
become erogenous. This important fact should be care- 
fully heeded by all who have the care of the young. Much 
caressing, kissing and fondling must be avoided. The 
highly sensitive skin covering, with its countless nerves, is 
in direct communication with the brain. In hysteria the 
sensitivity of the skin is often intensified. The earliest of 
all pleasurable sensations arise from the skin e.g. the act 
of suckling in infancy. Cutaneous excitation undoubtedly 
1 See page 138. 


causes the most powerful aivl often overwhelming psychic 
MI ! notion of the skin of the forehead, causing 
stimulation of the nerves, is a common habit of many who 
iiv thru brains. In China fathers refrain from kissing 
their daughters for fear of erotic stimulation. It is not 
necessary to observe such extreme precaution as this, but 
all reflective parents will recognise that risk may attend 
excessive caressing of the young. 

Ellis points out that the connection between the sexual 
sphere and the skin is shown in acne and pimples on the face. 
The " blackheads," so frequently seen on the faces of 
pubescent boys and girls, are probably an abortive effort 
of the sebaceous glands to grow hair. " As a rule acne 
appears about puberty and dies out slowly during adoles- 
cence." This skin affection is also liable to appear during 

The sensibility of the skin is very manifest in young 
children who find pleasure in tickling. This sensation is 
a pain-pleasure, which is sometimes sought voluntarily. It 
is not in itself a morbid manifestation ; but it is obvious 
that it may become so if the irritation is applied to specific 
parts of the body. The eminent physician Gowers said 
shrewdly that the sexual act is a " skin reflex." A medical 
correspondent, writing to Ellis, advances the theory that 
ticklishness in virgins may be " nature's self-protection " 
against sexual advances. It is perhaps significant that the 
inclination to be tickled usually ceases at puberty. 

We may state with assurance that the avoidance of un- 
due tactile stimulations in childhood is advisable. Every 
care should be taken to keep the sex feeling at bay until 
such time as it may be legitimately satisfied in a marriage 
of love. To this end we must guard against everything that 
can become a sexual irritant. Every ascetic of old realised 
the value of cold in allaying unruly desires. Warmth 
is an excitant; and though artificial heat is necessary for 
health in cold and damp climates, we must not be too 
warmly clad for sexual health. 

Children and adolescents should not sleep on luxurious 
feather beds. The garments should be loose. There 
should not be pressure or friction in the genital parts. One 
writer traces the masturbatory habit in little boys to tight 


breeches. Close-fitting stays are said to have the same 
effect upon girls. Some very young children often handle 
themselves almost constantly until they are corrected. 
This habit often arises from local irritation through pressure 
of clothes or from uncleanness of the parts. 

Norah March points out that, physiologically and psychic- 
ally, in boys, the sensations of sex " are more acute and 
specific than in girls/' * This difference between boys 
and girls should be admitted and faced by the parent and 
teacher. The scheme of Nature does not harmonise with 
all our moral and social codes. The adolescent boy may 
experience erotic feeling long before he is fitted to reproduce 
the species. Thus a serious problem arises for the young 
man and his guardians. 

In our day there is a growing postponement of the age of 
marriage. " Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his 
way ? " is a pressing question for the hygienist and the 
moralist. We can only employ every possible means to 
diminish the influence of amatory stimuli for those com- 
pelled to a long period of celibacy. And these means must 
be exercised from infancy. We cannot begin hygienic and 
ethical guidance at a too early age. But this direction 
must be very carefully planned and conducted. 

The hygiene of celibacy needs to be clearly formulated. 
We are beginning to apprehend that it is not sufficient 
simply to enjoin purity and chastity. We must devise 
other safeguards. This cannot be done while the great 
bulk of fathers and mothers, tutors and clergymen exhibit 
no active interest in the educational guidance of sex 
development. The untaught cannot instruct. 

Mere exhortation to continence, control and the repres- 
sion of " evil thoughts " is lamentably inadequate, as daily 
experience proves. We tell a boy that lust is a sin, and 
warn him against concupiscence, while we inflame his 
system with a too generous diet, permit alcoholic stimulants, 
provide him with a feather bed and too much covering, and 
generally coddle him. We counsel purity and give no 
hygienic instruction for the maintenance of a clean mind 
in a clean body. We silence natural inquiry and leave the 
boy exposed to those corrupting influences of the world 
1 Towatds Racial Health. 


from which there is no escape in the average adolescent life. 
.nstil prudish, shamefaced views upon sox, wliicli 
M-t tin- niin-! morbidly wondering, and often induce an 
insatiable secret curiosity. How can we expect that the 
youth will attain manhood with a fine respect for his 
sex potentiality, his procreative responsibility and his duty 
to the race ? 

Excess in athletics and the more violent games may 
induce fatigue of the nerves and the muscles, which in its 
turn causes disturbed sleep, and is apt to arouse sexual 
desire. A deficiency of exercise for the body leaves a 
superabundance of force that may be expended sexually. 
Overstrain of the mind produces insomnia, and masturba- 
tion is often practised in order to obtain sleep. Listening 
to erotic, indecent talk awakens smouldering fire in many 
youths. The amatory excitants are extremely numerous, 
and that which has no effect upon an under-sexed or 
phlegmatic nature may be a powerful aphrodisiac for 

The struggle to maintain chastity may be very severe in 
some young men, while in others it may be slight. Impulses 
may be constant in the highly virile or merely periodic in 
some cases. When excitement arises in the celibate he 
should try to transfer the energy into hard work, vigorous 
play, absorbing, non-exciting study, or any interest that 
demands concentration. Every effort of diffusion of the 
sexual longing fortifies the will, and there is no doubt 
that a well-exercised will, like an actively used muscle, can 
become stronger. 


The hygiene of the female sex life is more neglected than 
that of the male in most civilised races, especially in the 
Western world. Although the erotic nature of woman 
requires more subtle stimulation, especially of an emotional- 
psychic kind, than the amative desire of man, it must not 
be' supposed that prolonged celibate living has no trials 
for the average healthy woman as well as the neurotic or 
hyperaesthetic types. Dr Elizabeth Blackwell and other 
women physicians have endorsed the view of gynaecologists 


that sex plays an eminently influential part in a woman's 

We may be less concerned with the risks of unchastity 
in the girl than with the boy, but we cannot overlook the 
fact that neglect of sex hygiene injures the female even more 
than the male. So meagre is the knowledge of the laws 
of the sexual life among women themselves that many 
suffer from symptoms arising from the uterus or the ovaries 
without the least consciousness of the nature of the disorder. 

The prevalence of displacement, malposition and prolapse 
of the womb is due in most cases to artificial and unhealthy 
living, to overstrain and neglect of suitable rest after 
pregnancy. Prolapsus often occurs in unmarried women and 
in girls during adolescence. Besides the physical disability 
and suffering caused by this derangement, there are mental 
influences, sometimes of a marked character. The sufferer 
is nervous, depressed, irritable, peevish. These symptoms 
usually vanish magically after medical attention ; but if 
neglected they may quickly transform a normally patient 
woman into a harassed condition, disturbing to domestic 

Most of the menstrual disorders are preventable through 
hygiene. The whole process of pregnancy or gestation is 
made complicated, and often painful, by injudicious living. 
Delivery or parturition is rendered more torturing and 
sometimes a danger to life through the unhealthy mode of 
existence before and during wedlock. Suckling, or lacta- 
tion, has also its abnormalities and ailments. A host of 
women have wandered so far from Dame Nature that they 
cannot nourish their own offspring. Some have no milk ; 
others have an insufficient supply. Sometimes the nipples 
have been flattened out of all shape, and are practically non- 
existent through the constriction of the corset. 

A vast number of women fail to participate in a normal 
manner in the marital embrace. Dr Mary Stopes estimates 
that seventy to eighty per cent, of wives are unhappy in this 
relation, through the ignorance of their husbands of the 
nature of women and no knowledge of the periodicity of 
erotic inclination in their sex. But many are " frigid," 
or anaesthetic, from various physical and psychic causes. 
Vecki has found abnormality of this kind in whole families, 


This unnatural condition is sometimes the outcome of 
( aivfully imparted prudish prejudice against sex, produc- 
\phobia. For this disorder the lack of s \ education 
is frequently responsible. False ideas have taken root 
deeply in the mind during childhood and youth, and a 
repugnance of the scheme of reproduction has developed 
into a true mental complex. 

A large number of cases of premature birth and abortion, 
or miscarriage, are avoidable. The reproductive powers 
of many women are overtaxed by too rapidly recurrent 
pregnancy. The majority of working-class mothers cannot 
rest sufficiently after delivery, and the health of the race 
is endangered. Various rigorous forms of labour sap the 
power of potential and actual mothers. The sedentary 
life, malnutrition, want of fresh air and nervous strain 
render some women unfit to continue the race. Anaemia 
and neurasthenia handicap an immense number of women 
in the battle of life. Ovarian maladies often follow a 
denial of the function of maternity. All these are dysgenic 
factors, forces acting against the well-being of the individual 
and the community. They are chiefly, if not entirely, the 
result of the neglect of woman's sex hygiene and education. 

Our daughters should be protected against these evils by 
a knowledge of the mechanism and the right use of the body, 
by an appreciation of their duty as mothers, and by a 
practical education in the laws of sex, the care of the racial 
function, and the management of infants and children. 
They should be taught that love is not only the most 
inspiriting of all personal experiences, but the source of 
human progress in all the finer spiritual and moral develop- 
ments. The ideal attitude to sex must be inculcated not 
only by ethical precept, but by scientific teaching that 
inspires interest, and reveals the marvels, the beauty and 
might of the eternal life energy. 

Physical hygiene depends upon sane hygiene of the mind. 
We cannot hope that either boys or girls will develop 
a proper esteem for the body if the mind is darkened 
by counsels of prudery, or soiled by prurient ideas. 
Fantastic and irrational recoils of the mind must inevitably 
occur when the subject of sex is approached with shameful 
furtiveness. If the brain is not working healthily we cannot 


expect a healthy functioning of organs intimately related 
with it. Wrong and distorted thinking upon sex diverts 
the erotic impulse from normal expression, and often leads 
to abnormality and perversion. Hence the need for a sane 
psychic hygiene of sex from childhood and throughout the 
whole of life. 



FOR the aid of parents and teachers in instructing adoles- 
o'nts some knowledge of the structure of the organs of 
generation and their functions is essential. It is not often 
necessary to impart precise anatomical information to 
children before the age of puberty. But hygienic counsel 
cannot well be given without physiological knowledge, 
and parents with sons and daughters of the marriageable 
age should be able to answer inquiry concerning physical 
processes. When we realise that the well-being of the body 
is greatly dependent upon healthy sex function, as well as 
nutrition, it is not possible to separate the physiology of 
the reproductive system from general physiology. We 
cannot interpret the psychic elements in sex love without 
a knowledge of sexual physiology. 

Reproduction in such lowly organisms as the monera and 
amoeba, which are microscopic unit-masses of protoplasm, 
is by cleavage or division into equal halves. Man's earliest 
forerunners in the animal kingdom increased by division, 
the splitting of single cells, or by the formation of buds. 
Sexual differentiation marks great evolutionary progress. 
The offspring of the female cell and the male cell inherit 
the qualities of both parents, and there is advance in 
intelligence, complexity of structure, and variation in 
individuals. Thus the attraction of two differing cells is 
the beginning of psychic or spiritual development and ex- 
pansion. The process of reproduction becomes intimately 
associated with, and practically dependent upon, psychic 
inlluenees. Manifold subtle mental and emotional forces 
enter into sexual love, which is no longer a media n i. il 
copulatory act. 

This attraction of the sperm cell of the male to the ovum 



of the female is the biological, the primal, source of love 
in mankind. The brain becomes dominated by a mighty 
passion with stupendous power for human weal or human 
woe. Man's progress is to an enormous extent the result 
of the complex sex development, differentiating him from 
the animals. 

The sexual differences in the two sexes can be seen in the 
embryo in the tenth week after conception. After birth 
the sex organs are immature, and remain infantile until the 
approach of puberty at about fourteen in the girl and fifteen 
in the boy. In males the testicles, which contain the 
germs of life, are in the groin, or inguinal region, until the 
oncoming of pubertal growth, when they descend into 
the sac or scrotum. The tissue of the external organs of 
generation in both sexes is profusely supplied with blood. 
Congestion of the blood vessels produces the state of 
turgescence necessary for coitus (sexual union). 

The male sperm is contained in tubules in the testicles 
and is expelled in the sex act. The active fertilising cells 
are in a fluid which is injected into the female vagina. 
If a spermatozoon meets a mature ovum in the uterus, or 
the ovarian tubes of the female, conception occurs. The 
ovum (female generative cell) is minute in size, but the 
spermatozoon (male cell) is very much smaller. The male 
germs are extremely active, and may be said to find the 
ovum by instinct. Ancient physiologists believed that the 
spermatozoa were animalcules. 

Ova are contained in a capsule, or follicle, discovered by 
R. de Graaf in 1677, an( ^ since called the Graafian follicle. 
This fibrous follicle has fluid, and is lined with cells that 
encompass the true ovum. The ovum is of oval form and 
may be about y^^ inch in diameter, or considerably larger 
when ripened. Ova are conveyed from the ovaries to the 
womb, or uterus, by the oviducts or Fallopian tubes. 

The uterus is a highly dilatable bag, provided with glands 
from birth. At puberty these secreting organs increase 
in number, and they elongate during menstruation. The 
passage from the exterior of the body to the womb is called 
the vagina, meaning a sheath. It is supplied with mucous 
glands and a network of nerves. The mouth of the womb 
is in the upper part of the vagina. 


The breasts are provided with secreting glands, larg< 

small ducts, and cells that form oil and milk globules. The 

s, or mammae, increase in size at puberty, and enlarge 

still more during child-bearing and suckling. In old age 

they usually shrink and lose their firmness and rotundity. 

Menstruation, the menses, or monthly course is a law of 
sexual periodicity occurring in the human species in most 
once in the lunar month. It is a preparation for 
mcy, and is believed by some investigators to involve 
a monthly discarding of membranous tissue in the uterus, 
and a kind of inner renovation. During the period the 
mature ovum passes into the uterus, where it awaits the 
male fertilising element. If unimpregnated, the ovum 
perishes. There is still doubt as to the exact cause of the 
real physical nature of the menstrual process. The matur- 
ing of the ovum does not appear to be an efficient cause, 
as ovulation is a continuous activity and has been noted 
before birth. Moreover, removal of the ovarian organs does 
not always affect the monthly function. Menstruation has 
occurred when ovaries and tubes were absent; and there 
may be no menstrual flow, though the ovaries are perfectly 
normal and ovulation occurs. 

Menstruation has been regarded as a supernatural event. 
There were formerly endless taboos and regulations con- 
nected with this natural phenomenon. Among some savage 
and semi-barbaric peoples the cycle occurs at long intervals. 
This has been noted among the Eskimos, the Laplanders, 
American Indians, and in South American tribes. Among 
Europeans there are instances of the fortnightly recurrence 
of menstruation. Dr Marie Carmichael Stopes has lately 
published some highly interesting data concerning the 
regular recurrence of sexual desire in women at the mid- 
monthly period. This periodic manifestation is regarded 
by Dr Stopes as a natural law that is almost unrecognised 
in the civilised societies of to-day. To the neglect of this 
law she attributes a large part of conjugal disharmony 
and unhappiness. 1 

It seems plain that the higher the evolution the more 
marked is the tendency to frequent repetition of the menstrual 
function and the more copious the flow. There is a view 
1 Married Love. M. C. Stopes, M.D. Fifield, London, 1918. 


that the process has been rendered more frequent by artificial 
living and by various stimuli ; but some of the higher apes 
are known to menstruate once a month. It has been 
suggested that prolonged menstrual periods may arrest 
growth in delicate girls, and Dr Fothergill has stated that 
if this wastage can be checked development of the body 
proceeds. 1 

When it is recognised that menstruation is a continuous 
process, we shall realise that girls require a different up- 
bringing from boys. In the reproduction of the species 
the female plays the more exacting part throughout nature. 
A woman may be said to be in a perpetual state of prepara- 
tion for the exercise of her maternal office. The physio- 
logical and mental changes, involved from puberty, when 
menstruation begins, until it ceases at the menopause, 
or change of life, are recurrent and affect the whole being. 
As Ellis states : " If we have to investigate the compara- 
tive reaction of a man and a woman to any scientific test, 
we have to recognise that the woman lives on a curve, and 
that her exact position on the curve at a given moment may 
affect her superiority or inferiority to the man." 

The internal ductless glands, termed " hormones " by 
Professor Starling, are of great importance in the psychic 
and physical sex life. From the glandular cells of the 
testicles in man is secreted a fluid that affects body growth 
and determines the secondary sexual characters. These 
glands act before the germinal function is established. 
They are, in a large part, the source of manliness of structure 
and of the masculine qualities of mind. Their secretion 
also arouses amatory excitement in the brain. Analogous 
secretions in the ovary of the woman influence both mind 
and body. There seems to be little doubt that the diffusion 
of these hormone secretions in man and woman arouses the 
mating instinct and contributes to sex characters of a 
secondary nature. Experiment shows that injections of 
secretion from these remarkable glands will produce very 
marked results in persons who have a deficiency of the 
hormone fluids. 

1 Refer to Man and Woman. Havelock Ellis. Scott, London. 



THE sexual instinct by reason of its potency, complexity 
and reactions is predisposed to aberration, abnormality 

and perversion. Absolute normality is not always easy to 
define. There are the subnormal and the supernormal 
manifestations, as we find them in the under-sexed or 
the strongly-sexed individuals. Lombroso describes erotic 
excitement in women as pathological, whereas many 
physiologists class feminine sexual anaesthesia, or coldness, 
as a disorder or neurosis. Ancient asceticism was wont to 
regard the love impulse as the outcome of morbidity of 
the soul. Many savage people imagine that the normal 
physical intercourse of the sexes is dangerous to health. 

The researches of modern therapeutists illuminate the 
mystery of sex perversions. Some of these phenomena of 
the sexual life seem to be echoes of promptings in the early 
history of the race, and some are associated with the strange 
infantile memories. Passive algolagnia, or the enjoyment 
of pain as an erotic stimulant and means of satisfaction, 
may arise, as we have seen, from the infliction of corporal 
punishment on young children. 1 Active algolagnia, or 
Sadism, is an exaggerated survival of the impulse to capture 
and seize, or, in other terms, an accentuation of the element 
of violence in the male, the more active sex. In a slight 
degree it may be said that most women have traces of the 
instinct to endure pain inasmuch as their passivity, and 

1 I Schoolmaster's Diary contains some wise passages upon sexual 
mor.ility and hygiene in boyhood. The occasional ill effects upon 
the chastiser as well as the chastised are indicated in the opening 
chapter. The Diary merits the attention of all parents and teachers 
for its earnestness of aim, suggestions for reform and deep sympathy 
for the young. 



often their altruism, contrasts with the energy and egoism 
of men. This passivity may merge, under certain stimuli, 
into a positive seeking for violence or the endurance of pain. 
The natural vehemence of the male may be transformed in 
greater or less degree to a desire to inflict pain. In extreme 
instances, Sadism finds expression in acts of sheer cruelty 
and even murder. This perversion is often associated with 
a mania for shedding blood. 

We cannot ignore the morbid psychology of sex if we 
would be at all points prepared in the guidance of youth. 
It is useless to affect that sex aberrations are unusual. 
They are far from rare in either uncivilised or civilised races. 
Perversions of the sex instinct have been noted in the lowest 
as well as the highest orders of mankind, in the genius and 
in the most primitive of savages. 

Animals in domesticity frequently develop sexual per- 

A fair proportion of boys show some slight traits of 
cruelty towards companions and animals, and this deficiency 
in sympathy is probably more notable before than after 
puberty. Pity and kindness are often deepened when the 
psyche begins to develop. If a youth exhibits an un- 
usual tendency to inflict suffering, especially without pro- 
vocation on the part of the victim, we may with some 
reason suspect a Sadistic strain. But care must be used 
to distinguish between the thoughtless, ignorant imposition 
of suffering, often noticeable in quite young children, and 
deliberate, meditated acts of cruelty. The wanton tortur- 
ing and mutilation of animals is undoubtedly associated 
with algolagnia. Such cases are occasionally reported in 
the newspapers. The friends of the offenders are unable 
to account for these acts on the part of an individual who 
may appear perfectly sane. 

When algolagnia becomes a true psychosis, or definite 
perversion, there is serious danger lest the sufferer should 
injure others. There are terrible records of deeds of cruelty 
committed by sexual perverts under insane obsessions. In 
all the sexually perverse and vicious sections of the com- 
munity in the civilised nations, satisfactions are secretly 
provided for perverted persons in houses of ill fame. The 
chronicles of sexual abnormality, collected by alienists, 


i.nis and psychotherapists, abound with 
instances of the ingenuity of perverts in obtaining gratifi- 

The aberrant impulses may be checked by careful nurture 
in childhood and youth, by sublimation of the erotic yearn- 
ings, and by hygienic living and engrossing interests. 
Hypnotism, or suggestion, has been employed with success 
by many psychopathic experts. Psychoanalysis is more 
likely to effect a complete cure. Teachers, jurists, doctors 
and clergymen should consult the works of Freud, Jung, 
Bjerre, Pfister, Ernest Jones, Brill, Djerine and other 
writers of the psychoanalytic school. 

Various degrees of sex perversion are instanced in the 
inveterate habit of repeating indecent anecdotes and jokes, 
the writing of obscene anonymous letters to women, and 
collecting lewd pictures and photographs. By these means 
some persons obtain " a vicarious gratification," and this 
may become an actual substitute for normal satisfactions of 
instinct. Subjects addicted to the mania for cutting off 
women's hair in the streets have admitted that this mis- 
demeanour is a sexual impulse. Men and boys who im- 
properly expose themselves (exhibitionists) are sufferers 
from a somewhat common form of perversion. 

Some inquirers in the abnormal psychology of the sexual 
instinct regard kleptomania as a sex aberration. Klepto- 
maniacs have confessed that they experience erotic feeling 
at the moment of purloining an article, and that the danger 
of detection intensifies the pleasure. Another common 
anomaly of the sex emotion is fetichism, in which the focus 
of interest is transferred from the body of the desired person 
to parts of the clothing, especially to shoes. 

The safeguarding of the developing sex feeling against 
perverse tendencies is a matter of great importance for the 
parent and the teacher. Quite unwittingly those who have 
charge of the young may foster perversions and abnor- 
malities. Prudishness and contempt for sex may cause a 
pathological frigidity in women. Flippant or gross con- 
versation about love and sexual relations may stimulate a 
powerful libidinous inclination in youth, which is likely to 
induce perverse practice in later life. 



The prevalence and the alleged increase of homosexuality, 
or sexual inversion, makes it necessary to devote a few pages 
to this difficult enigma of human nature. A perfectly 
normal development of the sex instinct in adolescence and 
the adult life, in which the affection and desire are towards 
one of the opposite sex, is described as heterosexual. If the 
emotion and the yearning are aroused by a person of the 
same sex, we speak of the attraction as inverted or homo- 
sexual. There are men and women who are born with in- 
verted instincts. These are classed as true sexual inverts 
and are sometimes described as urnings or uranians. The 
typical male invert is found in all classes of society, from 
the highest to the lowest. 

The homosexual is a responsible being. He is fated with 
a congenital tendency, but, like the inheritor of the alcoholic 
bias, or the man with an imperfect sense of right and wrong, 
he is bound to adapt his conduct to the codes of the society 
into which he is born. 

In this text-book it is not necessary to discuss sexual in- 
version in all its bearings upon the individual and the com- 
munity. It is necessary, however, to refer to a transitory 
manifestation of this aberration, which is a not uncommon 
phase of the pubertal stage. We cannot overlook the fact 
that a number of teachers and parents are confronted 
with this difficult problem. 1 Whispers of unmentionable 
practices in certain schools reach the ears of solicitous 

Mr A. C. Benson, an experienced educator, states that no 
boy is likely to preserve his innocence in passing through 
school life. " One hears of simply heart-rending cases 
where a boy dare not even tell his parents of what he en- 
dures." 2 This aberrant tendency is noted among girls as 
well as boys. Intensely emotional friendships are common 
in some girls' schools, as described to me by women 

1 Several writers on school life allwde to this matter, usually in 
ambiguous terms. 

2 I he Upton Letters. 


In her Aditirss to the Headmistresses of Elementary Schools, 
L M. Faithfull, Principal of the Ladies' College, 
Cheltenham, states : " It is the duty of every headmistress, 
as part of IKT school work, to teach her girls the control of 
their affections in relation to school friends and teachers 
and the reasons for the importance of reserve in the expres- 
sion of emotion. ... In her talks with elder girls a head- 
mistress can discuss very plainly the reasons for reserve 
and self-restraint in friendships and the possibilities that 
lie before girls in falling in love and marriage." 

It is important for parents to know that psychologists of 
note have traced a frequent transitory tendency to strong 
sentimental attraction, sometimes of an erotic type, be- 
tween young persons of the same sex, and an adoring, even 
passionate, devotion of a boy or a girl for an older member 
of the same sex. The truth is that in the first strange and 
frequently powerful reaching out of the heart for love in the 
pubertal period, and even before, a fervidly emotional 
nature may " fall in love," as it appears, with a person 
of the same sex. In many instances, probably in the 
majority, there is no definite, specialised physical arousing 

No doubt school life, with its practically complete seclusion 
from the opposite sex, may aid in the temporary fixation 
of an ardent affection upon one of the same sex. It is 
noted that this transient, sentimental phase is a common 
form of substitution-love in both boys' and girls' schools. 
The keenly awakened sentiment vaguely quests for response 
and satisfaction. When the boy or the girl leaves school 
and mixes freely among both sexes, the emotion speedily 
takes the normal course, and the preoccupation is directed 
upon the opposite sex. 

Reviewing the matter cautiously, I am convinced that 
the conclusions of the newer psychology are correct. This 
temporary emotion is not rare under trie present system of 
sexual segregation in youth, and may even arise when there 
is no compulsory separation of the sexes. The love instinct 
in its nascent stage gropes, often semi-consciously at the 
most, for expression and satisfaction. There may be no 
sentiment whatever regarding the opposite sex, though a 
craving to love and to be loved exists in the child's t>: 


Therefore, in the vast majority of cases, the true inverted 
sense never develops fully nor becomes permanent. 


The transitory and vague inverted tendency of childhood 
and adolescence may develop and become permanent 
through experimentation in erotic irregularities, or by the 
example of adults or older school companions. Normally 
there is great variety in sexual idiosyncrasy, and suggestion 
and example may induce abnormal proclivities in youth. 
How, tken, shall we protect our children against the risk of 
acquiring perverse habits ? Our first endeavour must be to 
establish a respect for sex and a high appreciation for the 
need for controlling wandering propensities. We should 
teach that normality is healthy, natural and socially 
advantageous. It must be insisted that the formation of 
abnormal habits is likely to become a terrible tyranny. 

There is also the moral aspect of the question. The boy 
who instils homosexual ideas in a companion may cause 
social disgrace and complicate the struggle for chastity. 
We must exert the most careful discernment in warning the 
young upon this danger. It may not be necessary to refer 
explicitly to homosexuality and perversions ; but there should 
be general counsel and warning against tampering with the 
life force. If inversion is suspected, the boy or girl should be 
treated as early as possible by a skilled psychotherapist. 

Let us close this chapter with a hopeful anticipation of 
human progress towards a finer sex life. For ages sexual 
excesses and morbidities have prevailed among mankind. 
Some of these evils are due to disharmonies and savage 
survivals that evolution will ultimately remove. The 
races still flourish in spite of the common theory of degenera- 
tion. There are always strong natural forces counteracting 
deteriorating processes, and there is ample proof that the 
course of humanity is ever upward. Old diseases fade and 
disappear, and new maladies appear, but man's intelligence 
improves progressively, and therapeutics and hygiene 
advance remarkably, cycle by cycle. The more we under- 
stand natural law the more are we protacted against the 
risks of social, moral and physical decline. 


No sexual psychologist, looking at the past pages of 
hum. m development, and noting the present manifestations 
of tin- vita se-.\nalis, can doubt that we are moving upwards, 
and, very slowly though it may seem, working out the 
herita es of fantastic as contrasted with scientific or 

direct thinking. 



THE lessons learned " at the mother's knee " leave a deep- 
cut impression upon the child's brain. From the age of 
three till nine years the callow mind is highly receptive and 
retentive, and that which is stamped upon it is likely to 
remain throughout life, tincturing thought and actuating 
moral conduct. 

There are defined cycles in sex development. The first 
cycle may be said to begin with consciousness in the new- 
born infant. In this infantile stage spontaneous sexual 
manifestations are wont to o Tur. Sexuality in a young 
child is in the subconscious, anc no knowledge of the mean- 
ing of physical sensations exists in the brain of the infant. 
Nevertheless, self-gratification, or auto-erotism, has been 
noted in many instances in children of both sexes before 
the age of three. These infantile experiences are apt to re- 
echo throughout life. Analytical psychologists of our day 
have asserted that the subconscious racial force in 'the child 
may be heightened by undue caressing and fondling by un- 
instructed parents and elders. It is therefore necessary to 
avoid all the stimuli likely to intensify precocity. A few 
typical instances of the arousing of the sex organs into 
activity, taken from actual cases, may be given here for the 
guidance of parents and teachers. 

A little boy, long before the age of puberty, may experi- 
ence pleasurable feelings associated with the sex organs. 
Such feelings may be manifest while swarming up a pole, in 
swinging, riding, and by other mechanical mean's. It must 
not be supposed that gymnastics are erotic excitants in the 



majority of cases. Probably the very reverse is the truth. 
But certain forms of stimulation in specific subjects may 
produce unfamiliar and bewildering sensations. We must 
not forbid swinging because one girl of six experiences for 
the first time an unwonted feeling connected with the racial 
organs. This form of healthful exercise may have no such 
effect upon a hundred other children. It is, however, 
supremely important that the parent should realise that 
the capacity for these experiences exists in many young 
children. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. 

Lying in an overheated bed may stimulate prematurely 
the sexual nerves of a boy or girl. Occasionally there is a 
congestion of the blood vessels of the reproductive parts, 
leading to turgescence or swelling. This may occur in the 
case of the healthiest of children, and without any trace of 
sexual thought. It is often a result of too hot baths, pos- 
ture, warmth, stimulating foods or a full bladder. These 
physical manifestations are apt to direct the attention to 
the organs and may lead to handling. In this way the 
habit of masturbation frequently begins in children who 
have no inkling of sex matters. 

Parents should know that the range of auto-erotism is 
very wide. Masturbation or " self-abuse " is only one 
form of the many phenomena. The sexual system is so 
widely diffused that many apparently unrelated nerves and 
organs may become erogenous centres. A sensation in the 
skin of almost any part of the body may send a message to 
the brain and arouse perturbation. It has been noted that 
even the eye, under certain kinds of stimulation, may exhibit 
an extraordinary sympathy with the reproductive apparatus. 
Such affectability may be abnormal and excessive ; but the 
existence of erogenous zones in parts of the body remote 
from the sexual organs is a normal condition. The 
purposive retention of the contents of the bowels, fairly 
common among children, and often leading to obstinate 
constipation, is stated to be a form of auto-erotic satisfaction. 

The most active erotic spheres are the mucous mem- 
branes of the lips, the vagina and the penis; but these 
acutely sensitive parts are linked up with the whole nervous 
system, the vital organs and the brain. We speak of loving 
with the heart. The ancients regarded the liver as the seat 


of amatory passion. No thoughtful person will dispute 
that the love impulse causes a thrill to the innermost nerve 
of the organism. A fervent kiss of affection stirs the very 
deepest emotions of the soul as notably as it electrifies the 
body. Love shows us great mysteries of psyche (mind or 
spirit) and soma (body). 

It is the duty of parents to acquaint their minds with 
the general natural laws directing the continuance of the 
race. They should know that sex is never absolutely 
dormant from infancy to senescence. So keen is the zeal 
of Nature for the perpetuation of the species that she has 
contrived endless cunning devices for furthering reproduc- 
tion. Nor is sex solely the means of replenishing the earth. 
The sex or reproductive cells act and react upon the growth 
or body cells. The secretions that make the race make the 
unit, the man and the woman. A hardened ovary in the 
woman affects her physical system, her brain, and her 
emotional and intellectual being. The castrated man ex- 
hibits bodily and mental and moral changes. An extract 
from the pituitary gland, administered to a woman, may 
produce remarkable results in child-birth, hastening and 
easing parturition. The secretion from the thyroid 
gland in the neck often governs human individual destiny. 
Disorder of this organ may cause goitre, and it is well 
known that the thyroid is affected during menstruation. 

This sway of sex to the remotest quarters of the 
body, with its dominance in the innermost recesses of 
the conscious and subconscious mind, is a profound fact 
of human life revealed by science. We cannot place the 
activities of the generative cells as something apart from 
the general activity of the body. The waning of sexual 
vigour seems to influence the productivity of the brain. 
Virility is an essential of mental efficiency and capacity 
for intellectual energy. If the sex functions are performed 
normally and healthily, there is a harmonious working of 
the human machine. 

It is apparent that parental care is vitally important 
during the period of infancy and early childhood. When 
it is understood that the natural spontaneous arousing of 
sexuality is inevitable, those who are concerned for the 
well-being of the young will refrain from stimulating this 


activity by injudicious excitants in diet, recreations and 
s that evoke premature sensations in susceptible 
children. Late hours arid over-excitement must be avoided. 
Town life has a tendency to foster precocity in a child. It 
would be well if all young children could spend most of their 
time in the country, and be encouraged to live as much as 
possible out of doors. 

The risk of masturbation must be faced. This habit may 
become excessive in very young children through irritation 
in the external genital organs. Secretions from the 
glans-penis in boys may cause smegma, which provokes 
intense itching under the prepuce or foreskin. This 
possibility should be recognised, and means employed for 
keeping the glans clean. If a boy or girl is apt to touch 
and rub the organs, some irritation should be suspected. 
This is a serious matter demanding plain speech. Cir- 
cumcision lessens the chances of irritation, and it is stated 
to be a preventive of nocturnal enuresis or incontinence 
of urine. It is supposed that the chances of bad habits 
are lessened by directing boys to force back the prepuce 
below the corona, and some parents, on medical advice, 
encourage this practice. There is, however, in the opinion 
of some persons, some risk in this preventive measure. 
The necessary handling of the organ may give rise to 
voluptuous feeling, and masturbation may result. Vecki 
condemns this practice as very likely to produce the evil 
that it is intended to prevent. 1 But it seems obvious that 
the external parts in children of both sexes should be washed 
regularly. Care is necessary lest undue concentration of 
interest may be directed to the organs in childhood. 

Besides the spontaneous and automatic arousal of sex 
feeling, there are numerous external stimulations which 
foster auto-erotic gratification. Bad example of playmates 
is a common cause. Servants sometimes incite to these 
habits by manipulations of quite young children. Ignorant 
mothers in the lower classes have been known to use this 
means to keep restless infants quiet. Overfeeding upon 
stimulating foods may quicken the impulse. Clothing, 
if tight around the genitalia, may cause irritation and con- 
gestion. Heavy coverings on the bed cause restlessness 
1 Sexual Impotence. Victor G. Vecki, M.D. Fourth edition, 1912. 


and a flow of blood to the organs. Suggestion in conversa- 
tion may act injuriously, especially in the case of acutely 
intelligent children. The need for a reverent attitude to 
sex is extremely urgent. 

Girls are not less likely than boys to acquire the auto- 
erotic habit through irritations, which occur in the vulva 
and clitoris. The early wearing of stays is said to cause 
precocious sexuality. When it is known that a degenerate 
cult of tight corset- wearers exists in England, with a journal 
devoted to their craze, the relation between tight lacing 
and sex hyperaesthesia (heightened feeling) seems to be 
well established. There are many reasons why the clothing 
of girls should be as loose as possible. 


The vague and unsuspected curiosity and the automatic 
manifestations of the infantile stage are followed by a 
period in which sex seems to be latent or dormant in the 
child. This is the play age, when a number of engrossing 
interests and activities absorb most of the energy of healthy 
children. There may be a positive resistance to sexual 
emotion in all forms. Boys begin to show a distaste for the 
companionship of girls, and girls speak contemptuously of 
boys. The boy seems anxious to escape from feminine 
influence. He may tease his sisters and resist the maternal 
rule. He wishes to break away from the mother's knee, 
and he is wont to resent the control of both parents. 
" Awkwardness " arises in both sexes during this pre- 
pubertal development. Children " get a little out of 
hand," and become " trying." 

This stage is characterised by immense activity. Play 
is vigorous, often to the point of extreme fatigue. There 
is a desire to cast off all infantile restraints. The child 
delights in being thought a big boy or a big girl. The 
immature sentiment of companions who have attained 
puberty is derided by the juvenile of nine to twelve. No- 
thing bores the boy more than allusions to love and senti- 
mentalism. Stories about lovers are rejected with intense 
scorn. There is preoccupation with games and sports, a thirst 
for exciting adventure, and a developing taste for hobbies. 


The inactivity of the sex cells at this period is apparently 
necessary for the growth of the body or somatic cells. 
Growth is rapid and the appetite almost insatiable. The 
system calls for ample nutrition, and there is great expendi- 
ture of physical force. 

Although there is not an active consciousness of sex differ- 
ences at this stage, the infantile impressions and influences 
remain in the subconscious mind. These impressions re- 
awaken strangely as puberty approaches. This third period 
is even more important than the first. During the latent 
cycle there has been a steady, graduated preparation for the 
great awakening of pubescence. 

The life of the girl in the dormant period is naturally like 
that of the boy. Though she displays less muscular exuber- 
ance, she is fond of romps and play. Her sex consciousness 
slumbers in most normal instances ; but she may continue 
to lavish care upon dolls, and express a mild interest in the 
engagements or weddings of friends. She would like to 
run wild and play as boys play ; but usually she is reminded 
that the rough-and-tumble diversions of her brothers are 
not proper for girls. As the female mind and body develop 
more rapidly than the male, the girl is " older " than the 
boy by what may be called a two years' start. She accumu- 
lates more fatty tissue and less muscle than her brother. 
Her inclination for robust exercises is often stronger than 
her physical capacity. She tends to become anaemic or 
chlorotic. Her emotionality is somewhat more marked 
than that of the boy. She cries more readily, exhibits 
more affectableness and is more liable to pique. These 
tendencies are greatly accentuated by conventional nurture 
at home and at school. 


The crisis of puberty ushers in adolescence. Sex-awaken- 
ing, arising from marked internal and external changes in 
the body, accompanies the full birth of the psyche or spirit. 
This period may be described as the novitiate for manhood 
and womanhood. It is the age of wonder, dreams, longings, 
instability, development and variation. In boys the period 
begins about fifteen and in girls at about fourteen. At 


twenty we say that a youth is reaching the adult age, and 
at eighteen we regard the girl as a young woman. 

Puberty in man is a stage on the journey to maturity, 
marked chiefly by the new capacity for erotic emotion and 
potency for the continuation of the race. There is some 
change in bone structure. The mysterious thymus gland 
vanishes. Organs of the throat develop and the tone of 
the voice changes. Hair appears upon parts of the body. 
There is growth of the organs of reproduction. The seed 
of humanity begins to form in the seminal vessels and the 
testicles, and the secretion plays its dual part in the upkeep 
of the body and the generative function. This alteration 
in the metabolism or chemistry of the body has an enormous 
influence upon the brain and the emotions. The internal 
secretions, mingling with the blood stream, arouse the soul 
of man and woman. These hormones (arousers) are the 
love-awakeners. From their activity springs that glorious 
efflorescence, the love of the sexes and parental affection. 1 

It has been discovered that lessened action of the pituitary 
gland will induce infantile or arrested development of sex. 
Thyroid affections may cause atrophy of the sexual organs. 
Sex precocity has been related to a condition of the supra- 
renal capsules. Puberty and body growth are probably 
associated with the adrenal organ. From the ovary of the 
woman is secreted a fluid that is essential for the general 
healthy functioning of the body and for the immense 
changes of the pubertal period. From the hormone of the 
testicle are derived the influences that govern bone develop- 
ment in young men. The cortex of the brain and the 
organs of generation are mutually dependent upon one 
another. Can any doubt remain that the whole bodily 
system is involved in love and reproduction ? 

When we have learned that the amorous, or strongly 
sexed, woman is so by reason of a free ovarian secretion, and 
that the potent and lusty man owes his idiosyncrasy to a 
liberal testicular secretion, we have at least discovered that 
a powerful erotic capacity is not in itself a sign of moral 
inferiority, but a perfectly natural phenomenon. And the 
possession of this knowledge is at least an indication to 
persons thus endowed by nature that the conflict between 
1 See chapter on Hygiene. 


innate desire and the observance of the moral sexual code 
must be waged by them with reason and vigilance. We are 
thus enabled by science to shape, temper and adapt our 
ethical standards in the difficult question of sex ethics 
and our attitude towards those who perplex us by their 

The erotic excitement attendant upon puberty has fre- 
quently no connection whatever with deliberate willing or 
volition. Such excitement may occur in an entirely ignor- 
ant child. In puberty the accumulation of seminal fluid 
in the organs and the stirring of the internal hormones in 
the brain often take a youth unawares and set up a novel 
craving. The same must be said in the case of the ovarian 
hormone in the maiden. This arousing is independent of 
the will. It is not the voice of Satan, but the prompting 
of Dame Nature. That the whisper may incite to Satanic 
ends is perfectly true ; but the arousing is often unavoid- 

This physiological stimulation is not of the same order as 
the excitation arising from purposive thought of an erotic 
character. The impotent man and the woman with ovarian 
deficiency may be aroused, though the physical stimula- 
tion is absent. Just as an abundance of sperm will cause 
a message to the brain, and evoke longing, so will a thought 
in the brain convey a message to the organs of sex. It often 
happens that the psychic activity fails to produce response 
in the sexual nerves. In these cases there is abnormality, 
an under-sexed condition, or sexual neurasthenia. 

The expulsion of semen during sleep, an occurrence that 
greatly alarms a very considerable number of adolescents, 
is a typical automatic phenomenon. Undoubtedly volup- 
tuous dreams may be frequent, through dwelling upon 
erotic fancies during the day ; but in many instances they 
are entirely unsought and unwelcome. Deliberate self- 
excitation during the waking hours is on a different plane. 
In this case the action is volitional and determined by 

As restraint upon the libido sexualis in mankind is 
imperative for the security and welfare of the community, 
the power of inhibition necessarily becomes highly developed 
in the finer types. Individuals of a low quality of brain 


development are frequently deficient in this power of 
control, and in insanity it is often entirely absent. The 
necessity for due inhibition must be impressed upon young 
people in whom the instinct is strong, easily aroused and 
precociously developed. 

It is essential, therefore, that the adolescent should 
understand the physical and psychical inter-relation of the 
erotic impulse, and this necessitates plain physiological 
teaching at the right age. Hygienic counsel should be 
given in reference to the stimuli arising from within. For 
example, a youth should know that a full bladder is apt 
to provoke tumescence, or engorgement, of the sex organs, 
and that the excitation produced is not to be regarded 
as a normal prompting of nature. There are postures 
also, such as sleeping on the back, that cause sexual 
tension. Pressure from clothing is another irritant and 
may produce a condition of hypersesthesia of the genital 

The psychic factors must be reckoned with. Highly 
excitable adolescents should not permit frequent mental 
preoccupation with amorous images, such as exciting 
pictures and sensuous literature. That which may be quite 
harmless for one type of young man or young woman may 
be harmful for another. A wise parent or teacher will 
strive to understand the diversity in idiosyncrasy, and to 
direct the aesthetic taste in wholesome fields. But this 
safeguarding should not savour of prudery, nor be exercised 
in an arbitrary and drastic manner. Much immorality is 
engendered by harsh severity and a bigoted condemnation. 

The free social intercourse of adolescent boys and girls 
is wholesome and prophylactic. Segregation of the sexes 
breeds morbidities, heightens sex curiosity, and intensifies 
cravings. Friendships between the sexes in youth are to 
be encouraged. Early love may have a restraining and 
elevating influence, even though evanescent, for in adoles- 
cence there is a tendency to spiritualise and idealise the 
passion that attracts the sexes one to the other, and the 
more sensuous elements are in abeyance. Pre-conjugal 
chastity is more often observed by the romantic young 
man who falls fervently and seriously in love than by his 
unemotional comrade. 


That sexual intercourse in adolescent males is far from 
being exceptional is shown by the fact that a large number 
of young men contract gonorrhcea before the adult age. 
This affection is often present in girls who do not make 
mercenary connections, and are sometimes looked upon as 
entirely innocent of sexual irregularity. Singular ignorance 
exists, even among youths who mix freely in varied com- 
pany, concerning venereal diseases ; and a large number 
of girls, from whom all knowledge of sex has been cautiously 
obscured, know nothing whatever of the existence of this 
danger. In country districts many adolescent girls are 
quite ignorant in this respect, and they are not infrequently 
infected by strangers from the towns. 

Athletics, sports, hobbies, friendships and congenial 
study or work that engrosses are counter-excitants tending 
to the preservation of chastity. There is no doubt that 
certain occupations in youth may induce desire. Sedentary 
work is often provocative through insufficient expenditure 
of physical force. Over-study may excite. A medical 
man tells me that while " cramming " for an examination 
in his young days he was surprised to find himself in a 
constant condition of erethism. During anxiety about 
passing examinations there is often broken sleep, feverish- 
ness and tension, producing sexual excitement In some 
instances. It is indeed extremely difficult to expel or 
avoid all the stimuli from the lives of the ardent and vigor- 
ous. As Stanley Hall indicates, these incitements are 
manifold, insidious, and liable to prove intrusive during 
the very period when we need all our vital force for the 
struggle for existence. 

The lack or insufficiency of outdoor exercise has much to 
answer for in the production of heightened and perverse 
sex feeling. Vecki ranks this want of outdoor life as one 
of the leading causes of masturbation. Sluggishness of 
body leaves us exposed to undue urging of the sexual 
instinct, whereas muscular activity uses up a large part of 
vitality. Ancient wisdom represented the chaste Diana 
as a huntress. I have already referred to the imperative 
need for more healthful recreation in the open air, and a 
shortening of the hours consumed in the fight for subsist- 
ence. There is little doubt that the unhealthy nervous 


overstrain of sedentary and city life accentuates morbid 


Quite well-meaning parents still persist in the practice 
of corporal punishment, through an ignorance of its poten- 
tiality for evil. Chastisement on the bare body is a form 
of satisfaction sought by a large number of sex perverts 
in all the civilised nations. This voluntary endurance of 
pain for the obtaining of pleasure is one of the forms of the 
perversion classified as Masochism or algolagnia. Masoch, 
an Austrian novelist, has related his own experiences of this 
pleasure-pain, and whipping is a fashionable vice of most 
large cities in Europe. Rousseau states that he sought 
this punishment from his governess after discovering its 
attraction. Many cases of algolagnia are recorded by 
writers on the abnormal psychology of sex. 

In spite of the large weight of scientific authority and 
the growing view of educational reformers, we continue to 
employ the rod for the correction of youth in the home and 
the school. " This brutally empiric aphrodisiac," as Dr 
Vecki terms it, is a relic of past ignorance and violence. 
There is no doubt that in the case of susceptible boys 
flogging on the nates or the back arouses the nerves of the 
spinal cord that cause sexual desire. Even the witnessing 
of flogging has this result in some persons. Ample testi- 
mony to this is to be found in the scientific discussions of 
the question, and in the annals of cruelty and torture in 
all ages. The region involved in flagellation is supplied 
with the same nerve as the sexual region. Hence the 
probability of stimulation. 

Besides the resulting risk of auto-erotic practice attending 
upon flogging, there is the danger that a latent predisposi- 
tion to Masochism may be aroused, and flagellomania may 
become a confirmed passion. 

The effect of performing castigation has also been con- 
sidered by expert psychologists, and it is well known that 
some eminent birching pedagogues have been victims of 
morbid obsession. Ellis cites the instance of Udall, an Eton 
headmaster, celebrated for his frequent use of the birch, 
who admitted gross conduct with his pupils. It is probably 


certain that the huge majority of those who employ bodily 
punishment do so with the sincere conviction that their 
means are beneficial to children ; and it is not to be sup- 
posed that many ardent disciplinarians find pleasure in 
imposing pain which is deemed necessary. Moreover, the 
average parent and teacher know nothing of the risks 
which have been pointed out. They follow with good 
faith an old and time-respected tradition of juvenile 

If parents were better equipped for observing childish 
traits and hidden propensities, they would learn that many 
children show what seems to be abnormal interest in the 
subject of whipping. In three personal records of the de- 
velopment of the sex instinct out of twelve, sent to Havelock 
Ellis, the writers allude to their juvenile attraction to this 
topic. I have met both men and women who recall this 
preoccupation of childhood. Children frequently play at 
whipping one another. Krafft-Ebing gives the instance of 
a woman who was playfully whipped by a man friend of her 
father at the age of five. " Since then she has always 
longed to be caned." In some cases self-flagellation is 
practised. Reverdun, a Swiss alienist, recounts the in- 
stance of a girl patient who made a formidable whip with 
twelve lashes for flogging herself. 

We are led by a great mass of scientific evidence to the 
conclusion that in the case of some children, if not of all, 
there is an element of menace in the infliction of corporal 
chastisement. It is doubtful whether the stick has ever 
sharpened the dull wits of a born dunce, or quickened 
normal discernment in the brain of a mental defective. 
The disciplinary value of castigation is doubtful in almost 
all cases, though Professor Stanley Hall, a leading authority 
on the education of the young, thinks that such correction 
may be beneficial in the case of some types of boys. 

While there has been a tendency in the past to exaggerate 
the evils arising from masturbation, modern M-imtific 
opinion remains divided as to tin* dr-give of harmful i: 
auto-erotic practices. Some eminent medical investigators 


have been unable to trace any serious nervous consequences 
in instances of moderate indulgence, though they condemn 
the habit upon moral and aesthetic grounds. Other physi- 
cians of high standing attribute neurasthenic symptoms, 
impotence, disinclination for normal intercourse and minor 
local affections. 

Some writers believe that neurasthenia may be a result 
of excess, and others ascribe dullness of brain in the young, 
physical listlessness and heightened emotionableness. The 
gross over-statements of a past school of medical and 
ethical writers have been exposed by a number of contem- 
porary authorities; and it has been repeatedly stated in 
recent years, by general practitioners, neurologists and 
psychiatrists, that the extravagant and highly alarming pro- 
nouncements of unscientific, though often well-intentioned, 
writers have produced some of the very results attributed 
to the practice itself. 1 

The possible injuries resulting from masturbation are 
mostly of a moral and emotional character. Careful re- 
search proves that this excitation and nervous taxation in 
adolescence is harmful. If the habit is begun in childhood, 
before the actual virile age, -weakening of the nervous 
system may be the penalty. One of the chief risks of auto- 
erotism is the fact that indulgence can be far more frequent 
than sexual intercourse. The opportunities are always 
present and the chances of extreme excess are high. Bloch, 
who is not disposed to the extremist view, states, neverthe- 
less, that " solitary vice influences the psyche and the 
character in the mere child." He traces moroseness, 
hypochondria, shyness, and love of solitude to inveterate 
self -gratification. Some authorities attribute neurasthenic 
signs and restless, high-strung symptoms to the habitual 
auto-erotic subject. 

The formation of the habit sometimes induces a distaste 
for marriage. It is apt to foster misogyny in man and 
misanthropy in woman. Some masturbators seem incap- 

1 Reference may be made to Havelock Ellis, Studies in the 
Psychology of Sex; Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our Time ; Northcote, 
Christianity and Sex Problems ; Stanley Hall, A dolescence ; Robie, 
Rational Sex Ethics ; Gallichan, Psychology of Marriage ; Bigelow, 
Sex Education ; Forel, The Sexual Question. 


able of falling in love in a natural manner ; and those who 
have wasted their power and nervous force experience 
dread lest they may be unable to consummate wedlock 

The practice renders some young men blase and cynical, 
and causes some women to adopt an attitude of false 
modesty towards the sexual side of conjugality. There is 
the possibility of a disinclination for normal intercourse. 
Capacity for normal satisfaction may cease in both sexes, 
and in this abnormality we have the root of several forms 
of sex perversion. Psychic recoils against the ordinary ex- 
pression and satisfaction are induced. The extraordinary 
is craved. Abnormal ideas develop and lead to abnormal 
practices. Perversity in this respect may shatter the 
chances of a harmonious marriage. The imagination is 
wont to exercise itself upon bizarre forms of sexual pleasure, 
and when the mind has dwelt for long upon such images 
confirmed perversions of a disastrous character may be the 

Besides the too constant stimulation of the genital 
system, there is the mental and moral conflict, which is 
rarely absent among the educated and higher types of man 
and woman. The struggle between the insistent force of 
the desires, often rendered excessive by indulgence, and 
the ethical or religious sense, may become intolerable. 
Remorse for this practice has caused some of the intensest 
mental suffering known to humanity. Sometimes there is 
an acute self-loathing and a weariness of life. Attempts 
are made to destroy the habit, and each lapse from con- 
tinence brings dire contrition and a sense of despair. Revolt 
against the normal love of the sexes and a reaction against 
the sexual scheme of nature are common consequences. 
There may be an exalted profession of purity, chastity and 
spirituality in those whose imagination is steeped in sensu- 
ality. The prudery of the masturbator is sometimes a 
social menace, for his or her views upon the subject of sex 
are unbalanced, deeply prejudiced and distorted. 

Love, tenderness, sympathy and understanding are the 
means that should be used in aiding the sufferer to overcome 
the propensity. A conversation with a tactful and intelli- 
gent physician may be helpful. All " scare literature " 


must be avoided. Sometimes the acquisition of a little 
knowledge of the part played by sex in human destiny gives 
enlightenment, explains difficulties and temptations, and 
inspires control. Psychoanalysis, as practised by the new 
school of mental therapy, is the best method of treatment 
for sex obsessions, aberrations and complexes. Little 
reliance can be placed upon the employment of drugs or 
hygiene alone. The cure must be attempted through the 
mind. Full, open confession to a sympathetic psycho- 
analyst may work wonders when other methods have failed. 


Puberty in girls is marked by alterations in the bony 
framework, notably in the pelvis and the lower part of 
the spinal column. There are muscular development and 
growth of the breasts. The womb and the ovaries enlarge, 
and there are changes in the structure of the external parts 
of reproduction. Psychic development is equally remark- 
able. New emotions are likely to perplex the mind, and 
there are variability, instabilitj', restlessness and quick 
transitions of mood. Religion may appeal deeply. An 
enthusiasm for art, for study or for philanthropic activity 
may suddenly appear. 

Attention should now be devoted by the mother to the 
fresh demands of nature upon the girl merging from child- 
hood to reproductive capability. The " mimic pregnancy " 
of menstruation is an occurrence for which the girl should 
be rationally prepared by the mother. It is unnecessary 
to reiterate the numerous risks to health of mind and body 
that are likely to be encountered when girls are uninformed 
as to the purpose and the normality of the monthly crisis. 
To guard against the probability of hysteria, nervous ail- 
ment, sex repugnance and derangements of the ovarian 
and uterine system, every girl should receive plain physio- 
logical and hygienic counsel. This teaching should be 
supplemented by conversation upon the ethical and social 
aspects of love, marriage and parentage. 

The functions of the body can be guided in regularity by 
intelligent care during adolescence. Much abnormality 
and disorder of menstruation is avoidable. Over-exertion 


at the period is always risky, and irregularity may result 
from insufficient exercise between the cycles. The attitude 
of mind towards the periodic manifestation of the ripening 
of the ovum has influence upon the right performance of 
function. There should not be any disgust at this process. 
Its great racial significance should be made plain, and the 
function treated with a sane respect as a symbol of the 
eternal generative energy of nature. 

It is at the period of the monthly rhythm that a girl's 
sex emotion is likely to be acutely aroused for the first time. 
This natural prompting is rarely understood by girls who 
have been brought up without the vaguest enlightenment. 
We have noted that the mingling of the hormone of the 
ovaries with the blood influences the brain and the psyche. 
It should be known that this periodic arousing of hitherto 
inexperienced emotion may expose an ignorant young woman 
to danger. 

Seduction usually overcomes the ill-prepared victims at 
the period when the brain is eroticised. Moreover, it has 
been ascertained that auto-erotic obsessions frequently 
accompany the menstrual cycle. Furthermore, lapses into 
error, misdemeanour and crim: are frequent when normal 
control is lessened by the physical and psychic ordeal. We 
may state broadly that the girl is often " not quite herself " 
while undergoing this periodic process. For the manifesta- 
tions of menstruation are not simply local and physical. 
They affect the whole organism, to a greater or a less extent, 
according to constitution and habit. 

When a girl has been forewarned concerning this recur- 
rent slackening of inhibition, she is at least prepared to 
exert increased control. If irritability, depression or dis- 
content cannot be banished entirely by those prone to 
these trials, they may be partially repressed by a strong 
effort of will. It is at least essential that a young woman 
should be aware of the difficulties which she may be com- 
pelled to face during the process of the maturation of the 
ovum in the womb. As Dr Mary Scharlieb and other 
women physicians have pointed out, this phenomenon 
should not be " a most alarming incident " in a girl's life, 
but a significant and hopeful happening. 

The risks of unchastity in the girl are fewer than in the 


case of the boy that is to say, if by " unchastity " we 
connote irregular intercourse of the sexes. But it is the 
view of a considerable number of investigators with wide 
medical experience that auto-erotism is even more preva- 
lent amongst girls than boys. One reason for this view 
must be attributed to the fact that many adolescent males 
find gratification in temporary liaisons and in prostitution. 
Another factor is the wider diffusion of the sexual sphere 
or erogenic zones in the female sex. It has often been re- 
peated that the area of sensitivity is localised in man. In 
woman there is much greater tendency to the transference 
of the zones to various parts of the body, especially the 
skin, the breasts, the urethra and other regions enumerated 
by sexual physiologists. From the evidence collected from 
women, the range of auto-erotic excitation is wider in the 
female sex than in the male. Ellis thinks that " after 
adolescence there can be no doubt that masturbation is 
more common in women than in men." 

Several observers have noticed the frequency of erotic 
day-dreaming among young women, which is indulged in 
for the purpose of gratification. Professor Maurice Bigelow 
says that this is probably more harmful than mechanical 
means, and that "it is believed to be more common in 
young women than in men." The ingenuity of women in 
all civilised countries for devising auto-erotic satisfactions 
is a remarkable fact in the psychology of sex. 1 Masturba- 
tion is not only the practice of civilised races ; it is prevalent 
among savages of some tribes and may be regarded as 
almost universal. Under civilisation there is a tendency 
for the habit to increase and spread, through the additional 
stimuli, deferred marriage, example and suggestion. 

As in the case of boys, the sedentary lives led by many 
girls, and occupational factors, foster auto-erotism. It has 
been proved that the treadle sewing machine produces sex 
excitement in some women. Constipation has been sug- 
gested as a source of irritation. A rich diet and an idle life 
are likely to arouse erethism. Overheated rooms, loung- 
ing, lack of interests and amusements, and reading inflam- 
matory love stories induce erotic fancies in the brain. A 

1 See records byEllis, Bloch, Rohleder and Gamier among other 


suitable alternation of work and play, and spells of rest, are 
necessary for the health of the adolescent girl. 
ess of sentimentality should be avoided in the up- 
bringing of girls. Broadly speaking, it is advantageous to 
harden girls and to soften boys. In some cases the feminine 
traits are over-developed in girls, and many boys would be 
better for the inculcation of a sense of pity and tenderness. 
It is the sentimental, impressionable temperaments that 
are most prone to auto-erotism. We must not presuppose 
that this tendency is only found among the coarse-fibred 
and the highly sensual. It is especially notable in the 
artistic, the poetic, the spiritually disposed and the refined 
natures. Such types, through the vividness of the imagina- 
tion, and often through an inherited amative disposition, 
are more exposed to temptations and more susceptible 
to suggestion than the phlegmatic, the unimaginative and 
the dull. 

All moral counsel regarding this practice must be judi- 
ciously tempered with a sympathetic understanding of 
human nature, and especially of juvenile human nature. We 
who have passed through the fires of youthful passion should 
never forget our perils. Harsh condemnation and severe 
threats and punishments rarely, if ever, succeed. These 
methods encourage more or less resentment, create a spirit 
of distrust, and lessen or annihilate good feeling between 
parent and child. The " emotional psychic " appeal is the 
most effective. All the advantages of retaining vigour of 
body and brain should be rehearsed, and young people 
should be told that any tampering with the vital force in 
youth is likely to impair the joy and the peace of conjugal 
love. A spirit of idealism may be instilled into the majority 
of adolescents by fine example, by broad-minded, tolerant 
precept, and by praise for sincere endeavour in fine living. 



THE lack of sex guidance during school life has very serious 
results upon the individual and society. A boy or a girl is 
sent from the sheltered home to form one of a community 
composed of all types and shades of character. For several 
months of each year there is a severance from parental 
control. The young pupil is thrown among the good and 
the bad, and is exposed to both favourable and detrimental 
influences. Often the most attractive companions are not 
the best associates for youth. An older comrade may im- 
plant ideas and set examples that will colour the whole of a 
junior boy's career. 

There is no doubt considerable variety in the tone and 
moral atmosphere of the average boarding-schools and 
public colleges. Certain schools of both classes have a 
doubtful reputation, while others appear to be comparatively 
immune from evil influences. If we question those men of 
our acquaintance who are willing to discuss the matter and 
to recall episodes in their school life, we shall find that a few 
have no very distinct recollection of pernicious conversation 
or bad practice, while others gravely assure us that their 
first lessons in vice were learnt during tutelage in schools 
and colleges of a high reputation as institutions of learning. 

If disordered sexuality and perversions are rampant in 
certain boys' schools, we have not to seek far for the causes. 
The school period is the period preceding and during the 
development of puberty. It is the time when erotic 
emotion is coming into consciousness. The physical changes 
of this cycle are usually a source of curiosity, and the ac- 
companying influences stimulate to inquiry and experience. 
Talk upon sexual topics is almost certain to arise when a 
number of boys are crowded together day and night for 



three months at a spell. The wonder and the speculation 
rarely receive rational satisfaction. Sex is regarded as an 
i lie attitude is either grossly phallic, or 
pornographic, or flippant, ignorant and vulgar. 

There are usually one or two boys in the majority of 
schools who affect a wide knowledge of sex matters. This 
knowledge is not wholesome and rational. It is a com- 
pound of shame and indecency. It is from such sources 
that the mass of our sons obtain their early sexual 
" instruction." The common gutter words for the sex 
organs and the union of the sexes are employed, and there 
is a hideous besmirching of that which should be regarded 
as beautiful and sacred. Example by a lewd-minded boy 
stimulates a desire to vie in telling improper stories, and 
gradually a whole dormitory or an entire school may be- 
come permeated with obscenity. 

The laws directing public morals prevent me from giving, 
even in an expurgated form, the anecdotes, rhymes and 
jests that were rife in my schooldays. I have never dis- 
covered the authors of the thousands of gross, and often 
very unsavoury, tales and jokes that are told daily through- 
out almost the whole of society. There are evidently 
brains that devote considerable pains to this exercise. 

Familiarity with sex matters, through foolish and frivol- 
ous conversation, threatens most boys and a considerable 
number of girls. Indecent allusion to the intimacies of the 
sexes sets up prurience and incites to experimentation in 
vicious practice. This disrespect may become the habitual 
attitude and last during the whole of life. Men and women 
who describe sex as " dirty " or " nasty " are generally 
those whose minds have been tainted and injured in child- 
hood. The purifying influence of true love, based on respect 
for womanhood, may mitigate the effects of this early 
tarnishing of the mind. It has been pointed out to me by 
an Oxford professor that the pornographic propensity may 
accompany a spiritualised conception of sexual love. This 
may be possible in the case of some minds ; but obscenity 
seems scarcely compatible with a noble sex idealism and a 
true reverence for whatsoever things are pure. 

There is no doubt that concentration upon pleasures of 
an erotic character leads to solitary and mutual masturba- 


tion in schools. The young are naturally exposed to inner 
or peripheral irritations. All other stimulations should 
be avoided as far as possible. The mind absorbed with 
libidinous thoughts is not in a wholesome condition, and 
there is the danger that the ideas may become vehement 
and obsessional. In youth it is well if thought concerning 
sex is dispassionate and not preoccupied with the voluptu- 
ous element. The school environment frequently blunts 
the finer sensibilities of boys, damages the intellectual out- 
look upon the love of the sexes, and fosters inclinations that 
will seek for gratification in later life. 

In a sad, private communication which I have received 
from a young man educated in one of our leading public 
schools, the writer refers to the various forms of sensuality 
which are prevalent, and attaches his present habits and 
his unhappiness to this influence. 1 

The statement of the Rev. Lord William Gascoyne-Cecil 
is illuminating : "I had an experience in one of our great 
public schools which I am certain I can never wish anyone to 
^mdergo. As a boy I was immersed in an atmosphere of filth 
and foulness which was blacker than any I have known later, 
or that I have reason to believe exists in England. " 2 

A correspondent writing to Havelock Ellis says : " The 
dormitory was boisterous and lewd. . . . My principal 
recollection now is of the filthy mystery of foul talk that I 
neither cared for nor understood. What I really needed, 
like all other boys, was a little timely help over the sexual 
problems, but this we none of us got, and each had to work 
out his own principle of conduct for himself. It was a long, 
difficult and wasteful process, and I cannot but believe that 
many of us failed in the endeavour." 

Some loose-minded boys find a perverse delight in 
questioning younger companions concerning their sexual 
knowledge and in imparting lewd ideas. In my youth the 
new-comer at school was often asked if he was " up to snuff," 
which was the slang form of inquiry concerning his acquaint- 
ance with the physical relations of the sexes and the 
mysteries of reproduction. If the boy confessed ignorance 
he was speedily supplied with vulgar and graphic descrip- 

1 See also Hime's Schoolboys' Special Immorality. 
1 The Nation's Morals. Cassell, Loncjou. 


tions, accompanied by low jests and laughter. Some of the 
stories of schoolboys are of a repulsive and scatalogic type, 
invoking disesteem for the human body and a false attitude 
towards natural functions. Nothing is sacred to the mind 
imbued with indecency. 

This flippant regard for sex greatly complicates the 
important task of rational enlightenment. As we have all 
been more or less exposed to this early influence, it is often 
difficult to obliterate the sense of shame, disgust and recoil 
from the mind of the adult. We encounter " educated " 
persons, even a fair number of teachers, who announce that 
the whole subject is " beastly " or " unpleasant." Yet 
Stanley Hall says this should be considered one of the most 
beautiful of all subjects for the instructor of youth. When 
boys are accustomed to the obscene and vulgar estimates 
of sexuality, the work of the teacher is rendered extremely 
difficult. In class teaching of biology there is even the fear 
that one ignorant boy may incite to giggles, or infuse an 
element of prudishness. A medical friend, who is zealous 
for the enlightenment of the young, tells me that he would 
fear to illustrate the racial organs and explain them to a 
class of adolescents lest he might incur the risk of arousing 
furtive mirth in some of the pupils. 


The moral tone of the school is largely dependent upon 
the attitude of the principal towards the sex question. 
In another chapter will be found communications from 
headmasters upon the instruction of the young. Some of 
our teachers are clerics, and it is a lamentable fact that very 
many clergymen shirk or suppress topics of sex. Appar- 
ently they are of the opinion that clean knowledge of re- 
productive processes, sex physiology, sex hygiene and sex 
ethics do not come within the scope of moral and spiritual 
guidance. I have heard of a headmaster of a Public School 
who expressed great astonishment when he discovered that 
a not uncommon practice of boys, writing obscene words 
on walls, existed among some of his pupils. 

It should be clearly understood that religious influences 
per se are not sufficient for the direction of adolescents in 


the higher conduct of the sexual life. In schools where 
attendance at chapel is imperative and the religious atmos- 
phere is of paramount importance, there is not always 
convincing testimony to clean thinking and decent conduct 
among the pupils. It is undeniable that religion is often 
a restraining force. On the other hand, the connection 
between religious emotionability and the racial instinct has 
been established beyond any question. Sincere piety 
may be a means of sublimation, and no one can doubt that 
faith is in some cases a safeguard of youth. 

Archdeacon Wilson, in Essays and Addresses, writes : 
" The boys whose temperament specially exposes them to 
these faults are usually far from destitute of religious 
feelings ; there is, and always has been, an undoubted co- 
existence of religiosity and animalism ; emotional appeals 
and revivals are very far from rooting out carnal sin ; in 
some places they seem actually to stimulate even in the 
present day, to increased licentiousness." 

Again, we have the testimony of Dr Elizabeth Blackwell 
(Counsel to Parents) that auto-erotic manifestations are 
" observable in refined, intellectual and even pious persons." 
Canon Lyttelton makes a similar statement. 

We must recognise that the aptitude for religious fervour 
is not evinced by the majority of boys. Stanley Hall has 
found, from careful inquiry, that few lads are genuinely 
inspired by the example of Jesus Christ. The very divinity 
of Jesus places His character above the human level in the 
estimate of very many young people. The boy's ideal hero 
is a purely human figure. It is a fact also that most boys 
resent compulsory attendance at worship and services. 
I have questioned many boys upon this matter, and there 
is little doubt indeed that religious exercises are apt to be 
regarded as irksome. In natures attuned to the influence 
of religion there will be a natural responsiveness. But it 
is often necessary to appeal to the moral sense by means 
not necessarily associated with theological beliefs and 
orthodox dogmas. Light comes to the soul through more 
than one window. 

Pious precept may fall upon sterile soil. But the same 
soil may be fertilised by biological knowledge and practical, 
helpful moral counsel. A religious instinct may exist in 


a child vvlio appears resistant to the conventional church 
teaching. Idealism can be aroused by human suggestion. 
It is necessary to discriminate in temperamental bias. 
Can it be supposed that the average, boisterous, adventur- 
ous schoolboy can be transformed into a saintly being by 
merely sending him to chapel twice a day ? A far more 
elaborate and subtle method is essential if we would 
spiritualise our boys. 

The clerical pedagogue who thinks that he has fully 
appreciated his responsibility towards youth by pulpit 
preaching and the enforced attendance at services may 
have utterly failed in one of his supreme duties. If a head- 
master is " not interested in sex," he can only be feebly 
interested in humanity itself. 

If he considers that the classical languages and mathe- 
matics represent a truly " liberal education," he is out of 
touch with the most vital of human affairs. The principal 
of a school has the solemn charge of a number of young 
people at one of the most critical periods in their bodily, 
mental and moral development. At the crisis when new 
and mysterious forces of the soma and psyche are becom- 
ing palpable, and often insistently present in consciousness, 
every individual lad requires discerning direction in the 
right path. This guidance cannot be neglected by the 
conscientious teacher. It is not enough for him to say 
this is entirely the duty of parents. He should know that 
the great majority of parents neglect their duty in this 
respect. Masters should co-operate, as a few are now 
doing, with parents in the task of educational guidance in 
sex development. 

Sex education is one of the fundamentals of moral 
instruction in school life. Individual, social and racial 
welfare depends upon sex morality and hygiene. No one 
can be a good citizen, founder of a family and competent 
parent without an appreciation of the importance of the 
sway of the sexual ijistinct in the progressive development 
of the higher organisms and in mankind. The separation 
of the sex life from the other vital activities is impossible. 
Love is the origin and the mainspring of 1 fe. 

Science masters who omit embryology and reproduction 
from the curriculum may be said to devita ise education. 


Huxley's otherwise excellent manual of Physiology, from 
which all reference to the generative system was omitted, 
remains as a landmark in tutelary inefficiency. We are 
now learning that sexual physiology can be taught as a part 
of general physiology. 

Every year brings evidence that the scientific reformers 
in pedagogics, physicians and clergymen are beginning to 
realise the need for enlightening the adolescent in the laws 
of the continuance of life. Our new sexual ethics must be 
founded upon biology, physiology and psychology, and not 
upon misguiding conjecture, ancient superstitions derived 
from barbaric minds, and the theories of archaic fantasy- 
thinking. It is the duty of the educationalist to collect 
all available data that may assist him in educating his 
pupils in a finer esteem for the force that underlies the vital 
urge or elan vital. 


What shall be our method of training the young in the 
science of sex ? After the rudimentary or preparatory in- 
struction in the home, should the boy or girl receive class 
instruction in the school ? Upon this question there is con- 
siderable difference of view among teachers who recognise 
the need for imparting knowledge. Professors Geddes 
and Thomson, who have insistently advocated sex educa- 
tion, are of the opinion that the more precise and scientific 
information must be given in schools. They do not approve 
of "a doctrinaire scheme of instruction, coercively im- 
posed from without." We must first consult the child and 
attempt to understand his idiosyncrasy and point of view. 

The scheme outlined by these earnest sociologists con- 
sists in the opening out of wide interests in adolescence, the 
encouragement of play and legitimate adventure, and by 
disciplines in sports and exercise that promote endurance. 
Such education in hardness is, to some extent, a develop- 
ment of the primitive rites of initiation at puberty, described 
by several anthropologists. This preparation for man- 
hood and womanhood may be made impressive. Conjoined 
with this vent for activity, there should be a development 
of the ethical and imaginative faculties, a fostering of 
chivalry, self-control, mutual respect between the sexes, 


and healthy-mindedness. In actual teaching Professors 
Geddes and Thomson remind the instructor that " what is 
to be suggested is that mystery is observed because sex 
is sacred, not because it is shameful." This is a supremely 
valuable counsel for all educators. 

From botanical lessons the teacher should pass on to 
zoology. The hygienic and moral guidance may be en- 
trusted to headmasters or the school physician. In every 
case education must be carefully differentiated. It is 
necessary that full parental assent to this instruction shall 
be gained. In the training of girls there must be regard to 
differences in the male and female mental and emotional 
outlook. The instruction of girls should be " gentler " 
than that of their brothers. 1 

Professor Maurice Bigelow, in his Sex Education, states 
that adolescent girls of fourteen to sixteen should know the 
general plan of their own sexual structure. " The worth- 
whileness of chastity " should be pointed out by contrast- 
ing the good and evil. Books upon sexual physiology and 
health should be frank and direct. " At present there are 
no thoroughly satisfactory books for adolescent boys and 

Dr W. F. Robie recommends the emotional appeal in 
safeguarding the young, and states the need for a much 
wider knowledge among those who should be responsible 
for sex education. 2 Maria Lischnewska, one of the pioneers 
of sexual pedagogics, advises information in the fertilisation 
of plants and the reproduction of fish and birds, beginning 
in the eighth year. Later, the teaching should be extended, 
and rudimentary embryology and the function of repro- 
duction may be taught. At puberty there should be in- 
struction in the development of the sex instinct and careful 
hygiene counsel. 

Professor Iwan Bloch supplements his citation of the views 
of teachers with his own conclusions. He would have 
children of ten taught the natural history of the reproduc- 
tive process, and graduated explanation up to the age of 
fourteen. "The principal aim is to strengthen the char- 

!See Sex. Patrick Geddes and J. Arthur Thomson. Williams 
& Norgate. is. 6d. 

1 Rational Sex Ethics. Badger, Boston, U.S.A. 


acter, to induce the habit of self-command and self-denial 
by a profound and intimate grasp of sexual problems." 
There must be a guarding against sex stimuli in youth. 
" Discipline, work, abstinence, bodily hygiene, are the 
means for educating the character, and these also play 
the principal part in sexual pedagogy." 1 

Havelock Ellis is in favour of the broadest possible sexual 
education, judiciously administered in relation to age and 
sex. He thinks that the mother is the natural teacher in 
early childhood. She must be able to speak " with frank- 
ness and tenderness." The real facts of the sex life are 
" as wonderful as any fairy tale." There can be no diffi- 
culty in arousing an intelligent interest in the young. 
But facts, not fancies, must be instilled. The preparatory 
instruction need not be technical, but conveyed in intimate 
talks between parent and child. There should be a 
reverential attitude towards the racial organs. 

Ellis plainly recognises the difficulty attending formal 
school education in sex subjects. We are, in so many 
instances, reared in the pernicious tradition that " sex 
matters are filthy " that a large proportion of parents 
protest against their children learning " filthy knowledge." 
Under democratic conditions, the teacher's task is im- 
possible. Ellis fears that the introduction of physiological 
teaching upon sex, even in an unobtrusive form, into the 
average school in England will prove a very slow reform. 
It will be seen, however, from some of the communications 
that I have received from teachers that there are indica- 
tions of a progressive movement in the direction of sane 
education in schools. The European War has aroused us 
to the need for many social reforms. Specific sex prob- 
lems, often of an alarming kind, have arisen from this 
conflict ; and in this matter, as in others of constant im- 
portance, we have been impelled to inquiry and to organised 
action. That which has been for long obvious to a few 
reflective men and women is beginning to assume some 
significance in a fairly large number of minds. 

Havelock Ellis suggests botanical instruction as a first 
step in sex teaching. From this study of the reproduction 
of plants the pupil passes to the natural history of animals, 
1 The Sexual Life of Our Time. 


an'l to human anatomy and physiology. " The text-books 
from which the sexual system is entirely omitted ought no 
longer to be tolerated." The attitude of the young mind 
towards the human body is considered by Ellis as highly 
important in sexual training. He believes that there is a 
spiritual value in nakedness, or, as Bloch expresses it, 
" a natural conception of nakedness." 

Undoubtedly disesteem for the body is a source of sin. 
There should be a sane acceptance of the plain facts of 
organisation and function. It is a sign of degeneration that 
" the clothed man sees in the uncovered body only a sensual 
irritation." The prudery in regard to statuary is an instance 
of our decline from natural simplicity. As Ellis states, 
" familiarity with the sight of the body abolishes petty 
pruriencies, trains the sense of beauty, and makes for the 
health of the soul." Maria Lischnewska deploring " the 
horror of the civilised man at his own body," finds therein 
one of the roots of the prejudice against wholesome sexual 

The valuation of the noble human body was wellnigh 
impossible in the days when St Bernard spoke of man " as 
nothing else than fetid sperm, a sack of dung, the food of 
worms," and "a dunghill." To-day such a description of 
the " human form divine " would not be tolerated, except 
by a few morbid and disordered minds. But such con- 
ceptions still linger vaguely, if not positively, in many 
" civilised " brains. Hence abuse of the bodily organs, 
neglect of hygiene, scanty regard to aesthetic development 
and uncleanness. The task of counteracting the injurious 
disrespect for the body is part of the duty of parent and 
tutor. Those who deem the body vile are apt to use it 
vilely. There is little hope for purity in the sex life till 
we have banished contempt for the human body. 

The Rev. Hugh Northcote asserts that " religious tench- 
ing will not in any case do all that is required " in directing 
the sex impulse. This writer insists that " ethical respon- 
sibility is an essential element of sex psychology " ; but 
he expresses the fear that " an unscientific, poorly informed 
hortatory teaching, seeking to arm itself with the aegis of 
Christianity," is likely to be as dangerous as a non-ethical 
science of sex. Northcote advises conversations with the 


family physician ; and instruction by enlightened school- 
masters and clergymen should follow parental counsels. 


The question of the desirability of class instruction must 
be considered cautiously. Such teaching is in the initial 
stage of trial in America, Canada, Scandinavia, Switzerland 
and France. The instruction is conveyed by lectures 
given by teachers trained in the subject to separate 
audiences of boys and girls. Reproduction is explained 
by the fertilisation of plants and zoology. Some teachers 
supplement the biological teaching by hygienic and moral 

In the United States and Canada class instruction has 
proved beneficial, and the system will probably become 
more generally adopted in the near future. It is not an 
easy task for the instructor to speak explicitly upon the 
intimate relations of the sexes to an ordinary school class. 
Many teachers flinch from necessary plain speaking in 
public. The instruction in class presents obvious diffi- 
culties. But how can adequate teaching be given individu- 
ally in a college of a hundred or more boys or girls ? For 
the present, until a saner, more detached attitude of mind 
takes the place of shame, resistance and bashfulness, it 
seems only possible, in most cases, to impart general know- 
ledge of biology and embryology to classes of boys or girls. 
We may wish that the obstacles to class teaching could be 
banished by a common-sense appreciation of the intrinsic 
cleanness of the subjects of sexual physiology and repro- 
dution ; but the resistance and the timidity are very deep- 
rooted, and we cannot hope to eradicate them rapidly. 
In teaching those who are the heirs of a long ancestral fear, 
derived from primitive brains, we are compelled to proceed 
slowly and carefully. 

The first and probably the principal effort is to purge f 
the minds of parents and pupils from irrational and un-' 
worthy concepts of sex. Until we have educed the right 
spirit and the fitting receptivity of mind it would be rash 
to unfold suddenly or violently the inner mysteries of a 
subject regarded by many as esoteric, and by a considerable 


number as improper. The preliminary stage of sexual 
pedagogy seems to involve a mental catharsis, a complete 
expulsion of hostile, or at least hindering, preconceptions 
and prejudices. It is quite probable that the proper 
attitude to the topic will develop during the study of plant 
reproduction and illustration of the development of sex as 
we rise in the scale of animal evolution. We may be said 
to be safe while the teaching is concerned with botany. 
It is when we attempt to explain human reproduction that 
difficulties may arise in a class of boys or girls influenced 
by the ordinary home nurture. There is the danger that 
one or two pupils may regard the subject as " rude " or 
" improper." 

This probability has a somewhat paralysing effect upon 
the most earnest and tactful of instructors. In some 
instances the teacher may have to overcome his or her 
own resistance or inclination to shirk the matter. Having 
mastered this impediment, it is discouraging to discover 
that a proportion of the pupils are not properly prepared 
to accept the teaching in a natural, wholesome spirit. The 
point to urge from the outset is that the study of sex is not 
low, revolting or forbidden, but sacred, inspiring and beauti- 
ful to all clean minds. Children should be taught that the 
nastiness is not in the subject, but in the attitude of mind 
with which we approach it. The inculcation of refinement 
and delicacy should be based upon a clean purview of the 
natural scheme of life. We should insist that it is nasty 
to associate nastiness with organs and functions that are 
not only indispensable for the continuance of life, but have 
their great part to play in noble living, health of body, 
sanity of mind, the life work, the formation of moral judg- 
ments, and the development of the spiritual and religious 
sense. We must teach that sex is linked up with all the 
human activities, aspirations and fine achievements. 

The difficulty in class teaching is that the great majority 
of children come to school entirely uninstructed in sex 
matters. We cannot accept the information picked up 
from ignorant companions or servants as suitable pre- 
liminary knowledge. On the contrary, such " knowledge " 
may be extremely detrimental and hindering. If the 
average parent prepared the child for the more formal 


and technical teaching in the school, the tutor's task would 
be considerably lighter. As it is, the school teacher may 
be the first person who has ever spoken rationally to the 
child on sexual topics. 

The school training of girls in the laws of sex may re- 
semble the teaching of boys in the initial stages. Examples 
of the reproductive plan in the vegetable kingdom should 
be followed by descriptions of ovulation in birds and fishes. 
At puberty more specific instruction is essential. The 
association of the monthly cycle with maturity should be 
explained and the right hygienic counsel imparted. 

Acknowledging with Dr Balls-Headley and other practi- 
tioners skilled in the diseases of women that sexual health 
is terribly neglected by the great mass of the potential 
and actual mothers of the race, we must arouse head- 
mistresses of girls' schools to a sense of their responsibility 
towards the physical as well as the mental well-being of the 
girls entrusted to their care. 

Although fastidiousness is commonly accepted as a 
feminine trait, the fact remains that girls left to themselves 
very frequently neglect ordinary cleanliness and care of the 
body. They tend to grave errors in diet, are apt to neglect 
regularity of bowel function, and are often disregardful of 
the need for frequent ablution of the whole body. Fre- 
quently there is a superstitious fear of water during the 
menstrual period. 

It is lamentable that the ascetic libellous ascription of 
" impurity " to women still tinges in some degree the 
Attitude of many women towards their bodies and the 
offices of sex. Boris Sidis, the mental pathologist, gives an 
instance of a convent-reared girl who was imbued with a 
sense of the innate impurity of sex, and especially her own 
sex. In after life, following upon marriage, she developed 
a positive abhorrence of women. Minor forms of such 
distortion of judgment are far from uncommon in girls. 
This attitude has caused tragedy in many marriages. Sex- 
phobia may be so pronounced that recoil against conjugal 
intercourse may persist throughout married life. This 


morbid repugnance is also responsible for the harsh, narrow 
and uncharitable views of human nature expressed by some 

Most women, even among the educated class, enter 
marriage with very scanty knowledge of the essential 
physiological facts. Some possess no knowledge whatever. 
There are plentiful recorded instances of a complete ignor- 
ance among women of various ages. This total unpre- 
paredness for conjugality and maternity is a remarkable 
anomaly of " civilisation." It is a total annihilation of 
the theory that " instinct teaches." Instinct cannot teach 
human beings who have lost instinct. It is one of the main 
aims in the education of girls to suppress natural instinct, 
and if knowledge is not substituted the inexperienced 
bride is placed in one of the cruellest and most helpless 
of situations. 

The sex education of girls in adolescence should be 
the duty of the mother. If the parent feels incapable in 
this matter, the help of a sympathetic and intelligent 
married woman friend should be sought. Adequate 
enlightenment concerning marital intimacies can scarcely 
be made part of class instruction. Even if a teacher is 
able and willing to talk privately to a girl about to be 
married, the fact that the instructor is herself unmarried 
is not calculated to inspire a high confidence in the pros- 
pective bride. A woman physician of broad human 
sympathies and a knowledge of sexual psychology is an 
efficient counsellor. There are young people who prefer to 
seek instruction from a comparative stranger. A strong 
inhibitory shyness very often exists between mother and 

Admitting that sex resistance and recoils are more likely 
to manifest themselves in young women than young men, 
it is needful to exercise scrupulous care in the sex education 
of girls. It is very necessary to prepare the way for know- 
ledge by fostering a healthy natural attitude of mind. 
Much may have to be unlearned. It is often essential 
that a primary respect for the body should be instilled. 
This appeal may be made aesthetic, poetic and symbolic 
as well as scientific. The beauty of the human form and 
the wonders of the bodily nirHianHin may be made a 


romantic subject. A mere anatomical catalogue is certainly 
not enough, and may be simply repellent. The fascinating 
interaction of the somatic and the psychic, the magical 
metabolism, and the eternity of the germ plasm can be 
rendered interesting themes by the skilful instructor. 

The arousing of the erotic impulse and the religious or 
moral sense both occur at puberty, and are apt to manifest 
themselves simultaneously. Morbid religiosity is sometimes 
epidemic in schools, and may be traced in some instances 
to a sex hypersesthesia in which eroticism and piety are 
curiously blended. Intense sentimentality may develop 
at this time, accompanied by a prudish attitude towards 
material or physical phenomena. Ill-educated teachers, 
lacking knowledge of juvenile psychology, often foster in- 
stead of checking this excess of emotionalism in adolescent 

There is a progressive improvement in feminine education 
and the hygiene of girls' schools ; but there is still need for 
the reform and the remodelling of the educational cur- 
riculum and methods. It is a depressing experience for 
one who is earnestly solicitous for humanistic education to 
see a growing girl utterly fatigued and nervously irritable 
and wakeful through trying to cram the dead languages in 
order to pass an examination. The time devoted to Greek 
and Latin would often be spent more profitably in the study 
of the vital matters essential for a knowledge of modern 
life. We need not enter into the discussion concerning the 
value of a classical education. It is admitted by all pro- 
gressive educational experts that acquaintance with the 
ancient languages should form a part of a wide culture. 
But we have to decide whether it is good policy for a girl 
to give more study to Latin grammar than to biology, 
physiology, psychology and sociology. 

The neglect of science in girls' schools is a grave hindrance 
to the education of the average woman. There is an un- 
reflective and ill-founded view that scientific knowledge 
unfits the mind for the practical business of life. It is 
perfectly true that a scientific investigator, a zoologist, a 
chemist or an astronomer may be so completely absorbed 
in his studies and researches that he has no remaining energy 
for other affairs. But there is very little fear that the 


average boy or girl will neglect the daily duties of life 
through an elementary knowledge of biology. And it is 
certain that even a little science is valuable in performing 
the commonest tasks. Cultivation of the faculties of observa- 
tion, reflection, criticism and concentration undoubtedly 
assists in playing the great game of life. Human exist- 
ence to-day, in all the civilised nations, must of necessity 
derive more and more light from scientific knowledge. 



THE child and the adolescent are exposed to dangers of 
misdirection of thought upon sex, and often to positive 
corruption of morals, through ordinary social intercourse. 
However zealously we may shield the boy or girl, there is 
always the risk of mental and moral contamination. A 
chance expression overheard in the street may arouse a deep 
curiosity in an inquiring child, and there is no question 
that the obscene inscriptions upon walls and hoardings have 
their effect upon the mind of youth. In his closely analytic 
study of juvenile development, Mr Joyce, in his Portrait 
of the Artist as a Young Man, refers to the influence of the 
pornographic words and drawings which disfigure the walls 
of many public lavatories, waiting-rooms, park shelters and 

Even when the lad has escaped the normal menace of 
school life he is not safe when he goes into the world and 
mixes in business with men of all types. A young relative 
of mine, who was for a time a clerk in a foreign bank in 
London, was asked by a middle-aged superior : " Have 
you ever been with a prostitute ? " When the young man 
replied " No," the older man remarked : " Then it is time 
you showed that you are a man." Such suggestion is by 
no means uncommon. 

Probably only a few debased men deliberately incite 
youths to loose habits ; but there is, in many business 
houses, an atmosphere of misdirected sexuality, and a 
persistent tendency to coarse and indecent conversation 
and jesting. Nor is this tendency inconspicuous in work- 
rooms, factories and offices where girls are employed. I 
have evidence that a vulgar appraisement of sex love and 
the habit of loose talking are prevalent in many v/ork- 



places and large stores. We must not severely condemn 
those who err in this way through ignorance, bad nurture 
and a pernicious environment. Few of us are entirely 
immune from this taint of vulgarity. 

It is almost impossible to exercise complete supervision 
over the selection of companions for our sons and daughters. 
Any interference in this matter on the part of the parent 
is likely to be resented by the boy or girl entering upon the 
adolescent stage ; and such resentment is calculated to 
impair the confidence that should exist between youth and 
age. If we are scrupulous in retaining the good faith 
and affection of the children in our charge we shall find 
that they seldom develop close secretiveness concerning 
their friendships. A discriminating parent will refrain 
from prohibiting association with a particular comrade 
until he or she is well assured that the influence is 
detrimental. There should be kindly insistence on the fact 
that the best and most companionable youths are the 
healthy-minded, the naturally and rationally inquiring, and 
.those possessing a diversity of interests and wholesome 

It is always safe to encourage boys in an ideal of physical 
vigour, endurance, animal courage and the fair-play or 
" sporting " sense. Although sport and athletics may 
sometimes bulk too greatly in the youthful outlook on life, 
there is not the least doubt that rigorous games, with their 
inviolable rules and the principle of playing fair in all 
sports, conduce to a feeling for justice, generosity towards 
a rival and a sense of honour. This ideal of always " playing 
straight " may be an aid in the temptations of the flesh. 
We ought to instil the idea of bravery and hardiness com- 
bined with compassion for the weak and a zeal for socialised 

There may be still some persons of both sexes who think 
that a young man should sow his wild oats. There are, 
however, harmful and harmless excitements and dissipa- 
tions. It is hardly true that, do what we may, a young 
man will go his own way and flirt and trifle with vice. If 
the sowing of wild oats means, as it usually does, the 
seduction of girls of an inferior status, and the substitution 
of coarse sensual satisfactions for psychic and uplifting love 


during early manhood, the process stands utterly con- 
demned on ethical, social and hygienic grounds. On the 
other hand, a too tight curb on restive youth, whether male 
or female, frequently fails to restrain. We can " shelter" 
or restrict to a dangerous degree. The attempted suppres- 
sion and the undue repression of the primitiveness of 
healthy boyhood or girlhood may be fatal to morality, 
sanity of mind and soundness of body. All vigorous young 
creatures crave excitement, adventure, the courting of 
dangers, the expression of a high vitality. 

Boys must " run wild " on sound biological lines. We 
have become civilised, urbanised, and half tamed too 
rapidly for some of our fundamental, savage, ancestral 
longings to adapt themselves. It is terrible to reflect 
upon the consequences of a denial of ample playtime for 
the vast multitude of the young among the people. The 
neglect of life for the eternal grindstone is a serious factor 
of spiritual atrophy and of physical deterioration. It is 
not all of life to labour. Stanley Hall is right in his view 
that the majority of adolescents do not play enough. 
This is especially true in regard to girls. For we must 
remember that the athletic girls of the high schools and 
the colleges are only a small part of the population. For 
the mass of men and women, overwork and too prolonged 
work is a sheer necessity under existing conditions. 

Debarred from healthful play amid the soothing and 
beneficial influences of nature, tens of thousands of young 
men, confined in reeking cities, discover no other outlet for 
their superfluous energy and their passion for adventure than 
drinking, betting and promiscuous or " wild " love. This 
sowing of wild oats is not an outcome of idleness, as among 
the rich. It is a reaction, a protest against the drab 
monotony of poorly paid and incessant toil in more or less 
uncongenial surroundings. For the city toiler there are 
long spells when it is hardly possible to escape, even for a 
few hours, into pure air and sunshine. In the vast com- 
plication of modern industrialism we may trace the source 
of much sexual abnormality and degeneration. 


The attitude of society towards sex cannot at present be 
considered favourable to youthful development on moral, 
physical or racial lines. There is no definite ethic, no 
supreme standard, and no fine idealism when we examine 
the minds of men and women as a mass. Nothing can 
be more bewildering to an earnest adolescent boy or girl 
than the views and judgments of society upon questions 
of the erotic or sexual life. The conflicting opinions and 
the inconsistencies in practice are innumerable and utterly 

There is the view of " the man of the world," which is 
chiefly a mere matter of sex gratification. There is the 
almost rare appraisement of love as something superbly 
uplifting and ennobling ; and there is the extremely common 
estimate of sexuality as something unworthy, animal 
throughout, a force that must be suppressed as a shameful 
lust, a mark of man's low spiritual state, a retribution for 
the Fall in Eden, and a perpetual menace to purity of 
thought and conduct. There is the ascetic recoil that 
impels men and women to seek safety and to conserve 
chastity by voluntary isolation from the world, and self- 
immolation and emotional mutilation. There is the gross, 
callous, entirely lascivious evaluation of sexual love. 
Allied with this, though unconsciously, is the prudery that 
censures and would even suppress all examination of the 
strongest instinct and most powerful psychic force in 
humanity. The lecherous and the prudish are both the 
foes of light, morality and social happiness, though they 
may refuse to recognise one another. 

Society tells the youth one day that it is absolutely 
essential for his well-being that he shall preserve an inviolate 
purity. To-morrow the bewildered young man hears that 
if it were not for the prostitute there could be no ' ' pure 
women "; that the courtesan is a necessity in all civilised 
states ; and that the majority of men actively support 
prostitution. He is told in the same breath that we are 
a monogamic people, and that the ordered polygamy of 
the Oriental races is abominable. He learns that love is 


the one thing that cannot be bartered, and he discovers 
that quite a large host of respectable women are reared in 
the tradition that " a good match " means a marriage 
with an affluent partner. 

For a thoughtful youth or maiden the attitude of every- 
day society seems a medley of amazing contradictions. 
We teach our children to honour motherhood ; but the 
legally unmarried mother we hunt from our doors, and 
condemn her to misery and infamy, while we cruelly visit 
her offence upon her innocent offspring, depriving the child 
of certain essential civic rights. We affect that love is 
beyond price, but we award " damages " in cash to the 
husbands of unfaithful spouses. We teach that affection 
between the sexes is spontaneous, irresistible and beyond 
our will ; but if two are joined without this natural bond 
of union, and wish to sever the link, we exhort them in the 
name of religion and purity to remain in unnatural, socially 
disruptive pseudo-conjugality. We avoid any social con- 
tact with " the fallen woman/' but invite the lowest fallen 
of men, be they well bred and mannered, to our domestic 

How can a young man or young woman mingling in 
ordinary, respectable, conventional society frame, from 
such a conglomeration of conflicting estimates, any sound, 
practical code for the conduct of the love life ? 

Common-sense, intuition and experience gradually aid 
many in forming a rough-and-ready valuation of love 
and marriage. But how many there are who pass through 
life compassless and rudderless upon a turbulent sea. The 
ways of nature are obscured from a host through the dark 
maze of ignorance constructed by society. What foresight, 
what protection, what guidance can there be without 
knowledge ? 

It has been said that it is life, not books, that influence 
thought or corrupt morals. Undoubtedly words spoken 
by those to whom respect or admiration is accorded are 
often more potent than a printed page from a work of 
superior wisdom. Most young people gain their views of 
love and sex from the spoken opinions of their associates. 

The ideas begin to form in childhood in the home, and 
are modified, elaborated, revised or rejected when the 


restraint of home life is relaxed. Society represents many 
liaracter and mind ; but it is no exaggeration to 
say that the majority of men and women, not excluding 
the reputed well-educated, are blind leaders of the blind in 
questions concerning the evolution, physiology, psychology, 
hygiene and ethics of sex. The great preponderating 
are not equipped with adequate knowledge of a hitherto 
almost universally neglected study. 

There can be little validity in the counsels of guides 
who do not know the way through the jungle. In matters 
of sex the average man and woman have not thought 
it worth while to learn the way. They have relied on 
" instinct " : a very valuable possession for a tiger, both in 
hunting and in love, but an asset that man loses with a 
steady regularity of impairment as he becomes civilised 
and mechanical. It is obvious that instinct in sex still 
impels man. But it does not tell him always and un- 
erringly how he should act. The human mother has to be 
taught how to care for her young. 

In the important question of pre-marital chastity the 
educated world has no clear direction and very little help 
to offer the young man. " Purity " is inculcated as a high 
virtue, especially in women ; but the term is never plainly 
interpreted by ethical counsellors, nor is the best way of 
attaining to pureness in living pointed out to ardent, 
strongly sexed youths. One member of the community will 
maintain urgently that prolonged sexual abstinence is never 
injurious to body or mind, while another will refer to its 
dangers and hint of insanity and impotence as probable 
results. Some will assert that strict continence is always 
easy for women ; others will affirm that the periodic 
arising of sexual desire in woman places her practically 
in line with man in amative inclination. 

Realising that both " natural instinct " and the advice 
of the uninformed fail when put to the test, it becomes 
imperative to call in the aid of scientific knowledge. And 
this is precisely that which the average man and woman 
lacks. The influences that reach the youth or the maiden 
through association with ordinary society are therefore 
questionable. At the best the counsels and prescriptions are 
dubious, and at the worst they are injurious and debasing. 


It is necessary to warn the young against this risk. 
An impressionable boy or girl may suffer a deplorable 
distortion of mental and moral vision through imbibing 
common unreflective opinions upon the emotion of love 
and the relations of the sexes. 

It must always be remembered that knowledge of sex 
is frequently in the nature of an astounding revelation, and 
that shock or revulsion may occur in the case of an entirely 
unprepared mind. The sudden awakening to the facts of 
the sex nature, when shock is the outcome, may mark the 
beginning of hysteria or some other form of neurosis. There 
is full proof of this peril in the analysis of the newer school 
of psychotherapists. 


The drama, the variety stage and the cinema all con- 
tribute to the sex enlightenment of the young. There is 
for some persons a strong sensuous appeal in the stage, 
but this does not by any means nullify the educational and 
reformative factor of the play. We cannot discuss classic 
opera as an aphrodisiac (sexual excitant) because desire is 
aroused in some by music, or because certain members of 
the audience are moved erotically by the display of the 
female form in the ballet. The appreciation for aesthetics 
is doubtless linked up with the sex instinct, and song, 
painting and fervid poetry may be regarded as sublimated 
forms of primary yearnings. But this association does not 
commonly enter into the conscious mind. 

When the stage vulgarises the emotion of love and derides 
sexual idealism, the influence may be distinctly evil. Thus 
a flippant presentation of infidelity in marriage, or the 
treating of vice as a jest, may act very injuriously upon 
frail and unbalanced minds. The potentiality for good in 
the drama will scarcely be disputed by the thoughtful ; 
nor will the power for ill be denied. It may be noted here 
that the standard of official stage censorship, which forbade 
moral plays because the theme was the social consequences 
of venereal disease, and sanctioned foolish farces, in which 
the ideal of chastity was flagrantly ridiculed and cleanness 
of living derided, has changed within the past few years. 


The realities of war seem to have convinced many of the 
vital realities of life in times of peace. There is a tendency 
now to convert the stage into a pulpit. 

The contention that an exhibition of semi-nudity of 
women on the stage in revues, pantomimes and spectacles 
fosters lust in the beholders has a foundation in fact. 
But, as many sex psychologists are agreed, it is very hard 
to say what will not, or may not, give rise to libidinous 
thought in specific cases. If a sight of the sea can arouse 
amorous emotion in one individual, and a melody by Chopin 
in another, we can scarcely affirm that feminine charms on 
the stage are without their influence. On the other hand, 
the banning of alleged indecent clothing on the stage and 
elsewhere has been attempted by authority in most civilised 
countries. Invariably the edicts have shown no result in 
a reformation of public morality. 

This consideration brings us to the difficult question of 
the practical moral value of " policing " public entertain- 
ments. A too rigid intervention seems always the source 
of more indecorum in secret places. This reaction appears 
to be inevitable. The craving for the forbidden is extremely 
potent in a large number of human beings. The reform 
of public recreation is a matter of education and has little 
relation to Acts of Parliament. When parents are really 
awakened to the necessity for safeguarding youth against 
any sight or speech that lowers instead of elevating respect 
for sex, there will be no public demand for ugly or vicious 
forms of amusement. The " suggestive " ceases to attract 
those who understand the sacred nature of the mysteries 
of love and life. 

We must avoid the Puritanism that inspires reckless 
revolt and leads to defiant excess, and the licence which 
outrages our finer aspiration. Some of the songs of the 
music halls are not those we would choose for our children's 
singing. Many are harmless, others vulgar and ineffably 
foolish, and some undeniably detrimental. Nevertheless 
the popular place of amusement must be encouraged almost 
at any cost. There should be more halls of music, song and 

The cinematograph, like the stage, may be made a very 
valuable instrument for public diversion and instruction. 


There is no doubt that boys have been incited to adventure 
and even to crime by impressions gained at picture shows. 
We are, however, apt to forget that the representations of 
heroism often exert a moral influence. In America an 
inquiry among teachers and children has proved that the 
cinema pictures have, in some cases, stimulated unselfish- 
ness, kindness, compassion and heroism. 



THE influence of the written word on the mind of the young 
is beyond question. Many children derive their earliest 
impressions of love between the sexes from fairy stories and 
old legends. It has been pointed out that the erotic pass- 
ages in The Arabian Nights may have an injurious effect 
upon the young. This objection might be applied to a 
number of the classics of our literature, including the plays 
of Shakespeare and Paradise Lost. I have questioned a 
few intelligent men and women concerning the alleged 
danger of The Arabian Nights, and their view is that the 
passages under discussion made no impression upon them 
in childhood, the consensus being that children are apt 
to skip, or give little attention to, descriptions of love- 

There is, however, no doubt that crude enlightenment 
may be gained from the Bible. There is considerable testi- 
mony that children read some parts of the Old Testament 
with intense curiosity, and that they often question parents 
and teachers as to their meaning. A highly intelligent lady 
tells me that on her first visit to a Sunday school she was 
told the story of the Garden of Eden. The statement 
" Adam knew Eve " puzzled her, as it has puzzled other 
children who have no acquaintance with archaic forms of 
speech. The teacher maladroitly refused to answer the 
question. On the next Sunday the interrogation was re- 
peated by the little pupil and an answer again evaded. 
The inquiry was resumed on the third Sunday, with the 
same result. " After that," says my informant, " I 
thought the te:.-lvr a very silly person, and I refused to 
attend the Sunday school in the future." 

References to the rite of circumcision and to emasculation 



sometimes arouse the curiosity of children of both sexes. 
I recall the case of a schoolmate who, during a Scripture 
lesson, asked the master the meaning of the word " eunuch." 
The teacher suggested that the boy should ask his father. 
Boys and girls are often interested in the account of the 
birth of Esau, the story of Ammon and Tamar, Joseph and 
Potiphar's wife, Samson and Delilah, and passages in the 
Mosaic Code referring to sexual hygiene. 

Allusions to marriage in the Epistles of St Paul often 
cause juvenile curiosity and give rise to questioning. 
Thoughtful children ask for explanations of such dicta as 
" It is better to marry than to burn," and " Whoremongers 
and adulterers God will judge." Most parents can re- 
member instances of such desire for knowledge among 
young children. 

The habit of searching the Bible for these passages is 
fairly common in both boys' and girls' schools. Frequently 
the stories are repeated to other children. The danger is 
that the interest in the narratives may be frivolous, vulgar 
or lascivious ; and the recognition of this danger has even 
led to misguided proposals that the Bible should be expur- 
gated for the use of children. The undiscerning advocates 
of " revised " or bowdlerised classics always lose sight of 
the fact that all expurgation is apt to kindle a more ardent 
curiosity. There is a desire to read the deleted sentences. 
Thus a book that is intrinsically harmless may be made 

That the Bible contains condemnation of fornication and 
other offences which are mysteries to the mind of the young 
child does not appear to be a sound reason for placing it in 
an index of unpermissible juvenile books. Undoubtedly 
there are references to abnormal sexual practice and to 
more than one form of perversion. Sooner or later the 
child will almost certainly, in his journey through life, en- 
counter actual cases of these vices or abnormalities. The 
honest and ethical course for the instructor would seem to 
be a tactful, sympathetic heed to the child's inquiries. The 
classics, sacred or otherwise, should be read under parental 
or pedagogic direction. There are passages in the master- 
pieces of literature that may be read in the wrong spirit, 
and set up a detrimental attitude to sex questions. Much 


depends on the idiosyncrasy of the reader, but more 
(K pends on the insight and good sense of the guardian or 

It is well to explain to children that the forms of expres- 
sion in speech ;n:d writing change from age to age. A word 
which has a coarse or suggestive implication to-day is often 
a word that was in the common polite use among our 
ancestors. Although some few of the classics of old must 
be classed as " erotica," and are likely to stimulate a 
youthful curiosity, the great mass, despite plainness of 
jphrase or coarseness in the modern connotation, are pro- 
foundly moral in influence. 

No sane teacher would ban Shakespeare by reason of 
isolated, incidental passages, nor proscribe Paradise Lost 
on account of the description of the nuptials of Adam and 
Eve. The general tone and the elevated purpose of a 
volume or a classical legend should be explained to the young 
reader ; otherwise, in certain instances, the child may con- 
ceive an opinion that the author directly aimed at impro- 
priety. This is an almost inevitable risk in the instance of 
young people who have been reared in the prudish attitude 
towards sex. The naturally wholesome, sympathetically 
and rationally directed mind of a boy or girl very rarely 
hankers pruriently for the merely sensual or the simply 
obscene in literature. The chief aim of the teacher is to 
maintain a healthy curiosity, a real spirit of inquiry for the 
sake of knowledge. 

It has been said that life, and not books, corrupts. This 
is but a part truth. Sensitive, imaginative, intelligent 
children are often deeply influenced by what they read. It 
is impossible to doubt the effect of false and vulgar fiction 
upon the characters of an immense number of the young of 
both sexes. Stirring sea tales inspire boys with a yearning 
for the sailor's life ; stories of battles and " glorious war " 
foster longings for adventures on the field, and the lives 
of highwaymen, brigands, pirates and intrepid criminals 
stimulate to example in numerous instances. Impression- 
able girls are highly affected by love stories. Many en- 
deavour to mould themselves from the models presented in 
cheap novelettes and ephemeral fiction. Books foster day- 
dreaming in both sexes. The imaginative often try to 


personify in themselves the heroes, heroines and even the 
villains of romance. 

There is no question that some books are detrimental 
to a sound sex development. Among these are the 
obviously indecent productions, usually sold by stealth, 
and certain conventional works of fiction which are often 
widely recommended as " safe " or " clean." A novel that 
purports a portrayal of love, and entirely ignores the 
passional element and the physical basis of attraction, may 
so utterly mislead a young girl that she is in dire risk of 
marrying under a whole mass of misunderstanding and 
fallacious conjecture. The " girl's book " often distorts 
life in the most grotesque fashion. The tendency to 
" spiritualise " human nature is carried to a ludicrous 
extreme. Manliness in these stories has very little resem- 
blance to actual manliness. Such fiction retards or mis- 
directs the sex development of many adolescent girls. It 
is extremely doubtful whether any tale that is false to life 
can be described as safe reading for the young. 

The persistent reading of love stories, with highly volup- 
tuous or so-called "suggestive" passages, is one of the 
factors of the psychic sexual development of both sexes. 
That the artistic handling of a great passion should be 
impassioned goes without saying, and the greatest artists 
have shown the overwhelming force of love. Many of the 
lesser novelists, whose aim is to appeal to the vast crowd of 
average men and women, and not to the discriminating and 
intellectual, overstress the sensual side of the sex relation- 
ship. On the testimony of library assistants and book- 
sellers, these highly savoured erotic novels are read chiefly 
by young women. Three to four of these stories are react 
in a week by a large number of leisured women. This con- 
stant titillation of the mind with amorous images is a 
vicarious form of gratification of the amative instinct and 
mast be classed among the auto-erotic satisfactions. 

This inordinate absorption of very stimulating fiction has 
its psychic and physical effects. The reader is in a frequent 
condition of erethism. In some morbid cases the reading 
of erotic stories becomes an actual substitute for normal 
appeasement. Such continued hyperstimulation of the 
imagination involves a tax on the cerebral and nervous 


system. It is sexually unhygienic. The mind should not 
Juvll constantly upon the sex impulse. Intellectually this 
intemperance in sensuous novel-reading is disastrous. The 
habit of lazily skimming books of fiction destroys concen- 
tration and disables the reader from reading any serious 
literature with close attention and interest. This mental 
tippling is a widespread custom among idle women. 

The theme of modern love as developed by Thomas 
Hardy, Arnold Bennett, H. G. Wells, Galsworthy, Beres- 
ford, Cannan, Mackenzie and a few other thoughtful 
novelists of to-day is of very considerable service in sex 
education. Whatever the respective aesthetic defects of 
these writers may be, they write with that knowledge and 
sincerity that is the essence of ethical and artistic morality. 
There may be dissent from the gentle pessimism of Hardy's 
Jude the Obscure, or from the social ethics of Beresford's 
Jacob Stahl, but there is the clear ring of truth in the un- 
folding of the love or " human " interest. There is no 
sensuality for its own sake in the work of these writers, and 
no futile evasion of the fact that sex love cannot be divorced 
from the senses. 

Instead of the policy of " the locked bookcase," there 
should be helpful guidance of the young in reading. Children 
and adolescents should be encouraged to talk about the 
books that interest them. The banning of certain volumes 
may be necessary in the case of young children. There is, 
however, always grave risk in severe prohibitions. If a 
wholesome taste is fostered the child will not be attracted 
by the baser kind of fiction, and will reject the pornographic 
and the unsesthetic. It is impossible to banish the emotional 
and erotic stimuli from the life of an adolescent boy or girl. 
We can diminish the excitations and supply fine inspirations 
in the place of mere lubricity by an appeal to the aesthetic 
sense and the emotion. 

A reverential attitude towards sex should be inculcated 
by all possible means. Children should be taught that in- 
decency is ugly or blasphemous. The most beautiful naked 
statue can be made vulgar by the addition of a single article 
of dress, and a lovely sonnet marred and soiled by the sub- 
stitution of a single word. But in avoiding the Scylla of 
indecency we must always be careful lest we fall into the 


Charybdis of prudery. The fanatical priest who went to 
public museums in Germany, and defaced the generative 
organs of human statues with a hammer rendered a service 
to the indecent by his insane prudishness. Thus the cen- 
soring of certain passages in books may have the same result. 
The most cautious discrimination is essential if we would 
avoid stimulation when our object is repression. A veiled 
fact may be a source of danger, though unconcealed it may 
prove a potent moral force. 


In the introductory chapter I have referred to eminent 
modern opinion upon the need for sex education. The 
specific educational volume upon this subject is a quite 
recent product, but not without precedents. Sexual 
hygiene has been associated with the great theologies. 
Moses, Mahomet, Zoroaster, some of the Christian Fathers 
and Luther laid down moral and hygienic rules for their 
disciples and followers. As we have seen, the initiation 
rites of puberty among primitive people are of the nature 
of sexual education. In the Karma Sutra of Vatsyayana 
we find the Brahminical " Rules of Love " explicitly framed 
for the guidance of youth. The Catholic Adveniat Regnum 
Tuum, a modern work, contains counsels for the direction 
of the sex impulse in the young. 

Scattered through the writings of social reformers and 
moralists of the past are pleas for training the young in 
the conduct of the sexual life. Bloch mentions Rousseau, 
Salzmann, Basedow and Jean Paul as celebrated peda- 
gogues who advocated the enlightenment of youth at an 
early age. During the past fifty years in Europe and 
America the output of books especially designed for the 
young has been very considerable. In France, Germany, 
Austria, Russia and the Scandinavian countries the ques- 
tion of imparting this necessary knowledge has come into 
the scope of sociology and pedagogics. 

America has taken a leading part in the crusade against 
ignorance, and some of the best contributions to the discus- 
sion and the soundest constructive volumes are being pro- 
duced in the United States. 


It is inevitable that unqualified and ill-equipped writers 
have contributed to the large and growing library of works 
upon sex problems and sex education. In the main, the 
authors ot the inadequate books and the " scare literature" 
with a sentimental, religious tone are actuated by humane 
motives. A proportion of the publications are, however, 
manifestly issued as " good sellers," and appear with catch- 
penny titles, and in somewhat flamboyant, illustrated 
covers. Others are sent out by quacks who advertise drugs 
or mechanical remedies for those who have " lost man- 
hood," or " shattered nervous systems," etc., through " self- 
abuse " and sexual vice. 

The uninformed parent, clergyman or teacher desiring a 
means of enlightening themselves or young people in their 
care often purchase the much-advertised books or pamphlets 
in good faith. We must first teach the teacher. A volume 
bearing the name of a clergyman or a medical practitioner 
as author is not necessarily reliable throughout. Some 
ministers and philanthropists who write with fervour 
on these subjects are entirely untrained in physiology 
and psychology. All exhortation must be supported by 
biological knowledge and an enlightened understand- 
ing of human nature. Frequently the misstatements in 
books of this class actually defeat the ends of purity 
and morality. There is harmful ignorance as well as 
pernicious vice. Either of these factors militate against 
moral truth. 

Some of the books by medical authors of a past school of 
thought are practically discredited nowadays by scientific 
criticism and the growth of accumulated knowledge and 
experience. For example, the once almost classic Dr 
Acton, author of Prostitution, The Reproductive Organs, and 
other volumes, can only be read cautiously and with due 
regard for his strong preconceptions and personal bias. 
Acton, who wrote about fifty years ago, denies all erotic 
physical response in women, and denounces any ascription 
of sexual desire to the sex as " a vile aspersion." l A 
medical man who is so blind to the facts of everyday life 
can scarcely be accepted as a guide for teachers. Such a 

1 See criticism by Havelock Ellis in "The Sexual Impulse in 
Women " in Studies in the Psychology of Sex. 


pronouncement read by a totally uninstructed and uncritical 
young woman might prove in after years a source of pro- 
found emotional and nervous disequilibrium. 

While the most valid contributions to the study of the 
sexual problem are the work of physicians, there are still 
some medical writers who manifest deficient psychological 
insight and a restraining respect for traditional interpreta- 
tions. Dr Cowan, in The Science of a New Life, formerly 
much read, and quoted to-day by lay authors, asserts several 
hypotheses as though they were established truths, and falls 
into curious hygienic errors which later and more scientific 
investigators have entirely corrected. 

The Self and Sex Series, published lately, and very widely 
circulated, contains volumes by Dr S. Stall and Dr Mary 
Wood Allen for the guidance of youth. The excellent moral 
enthusiasm of the writers of What a Young Boy Ought to 
Know and Almost a Man is fully apparent. Unfortunately 
in the first book Dr Stall tends to overstatement in his zeal 
for emphasising the evils that he seeks to remedy. His 
method of inspiring alarm has been shrewdly criticised in 
Dr Robie's Rational Sex Ethics and in the Rev. H. Northcote's 
Christianity and Sex Problems. 

The question of the right book is not an easy one. H. G. 
Wells has said : " The printed word may be such a quiet 
counsellor." This is quite true. The difficulty is to find 
the really sound and informative counsellor. Titles, con- 
tents and the names of the writers may all mislead the 
seeker for counsel. We must always bear in mind that a 
vast number of men and women are supremely ignorant of 
the whole question, or possess only the crudest knowledge. 
Often a bias against any heed to the subject has to be broken 
down. This resistance hinders some from any attempt at 
enlightenment of the mind, and places them entirely remote 
from any chance of usefulness in imparting information to 
the young. 

The following list of educational volumes for teachers and 
pupils is by no means a complete bibliography. It contains 
some of the chief and accredited books on the subject, with 
a few comments upon them. 




T KAC ' 

Studies in the Psychology oj Sex. By HAVELOCK ELLIS. 6 vols. 
F. A. Davis Company, Philadelphia. The price of all but the 
sixth volume is 2 dollars per vol., and the sixth 3 dollars. 

Vol. I. 7 he Evolution of Modesty, Sexual Periodicity and 
Auto- erotism. 

The author's contribution to the discussion of auto-erotic 
practices should be very valuable to physicians, schoolmaster! 
and parents. 

Vol. II. Sexual Inversion (homosexuality). 

Vol. III. Analysis oj the Sexual Impulse. 

Containing investigation of the impulse in both sexes. 

Vol. IV. Sexual Selection in Man. 

Vol. V. Erotic Symbolism. 

Treats various perversions of the sex impulse from the 
scientific, social and remedial point of view. 

Vol. VI. Sex in Relation to Society. 

This excellent volume might be read first. It discusses "The 
Mother and Child," "Sexual Education," "The Valuation of 
Sexual Love," " The Function of Chastity," " The Problem of 
Sexual Abstinence," " Prostitution," " The Conquest of the 
Venereal Diseases," "Sexual Morality," "Marriage," "The 
Art of Love " and " The Science of Procreation." 

This series has a wide reputation, and is invaluable to jurists, 
legislators, teachers, and earnest social reformers. It is not 
designed for young readers, and may be classed among the 
foremost " advanced " inquiries into the sex question. For 
the thoughtful general reader the sixth volume can be highly 
recommended as a work of great sociological value. 

The Task of Social Hygiene HAVELOCK ELLIS. Constable, London; 
Chapters on the "Position of Women," "Sex Education,'' 
"The Falling Birthrate." 

Man and Woman. HAVELOCK ELLIS. Scott, London. 6s. 

This should be a text-book for all teachers. An extremely 
interesting study of the secondary sexual characters and their 
social import. 

The Sexual Life of Our Time. IWAN BLOCK, M.D. Trans, from the 
sixth German edition by Dr M. Eden Paul, M.D. 1908. 
Rebman, London. 2 is. 

An advanced scientific work of 761 pages covering a large 
field in the psychology and physiology of sex. It contains 
social and ethical reflections and a mass of information. 


The Sexual Question. Prof. AUGUST FORBL, Zurich University. 

One of the standard books on the subject. An exhaustive 

The Sexual Life of Woman. Dr KISCH. 

Useful to the medical practitioner and school teacher. A 
full examination and hygienic counsel. 

Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory. Prof. SIGMUND FREUD. 
Vienna. English translation, London. 

The investigation of the sexual impulse in childhood is of high 
importance. Freud's contributions to psychology have aroused 
a wide scientific interest and provided material for future 

Adolescence. Prof. W. STANLEY HALL. 2 vols. Appleton, U.S.A. 
An indispensable work for parents, teachers and all persons 
concerned with the physical, mental and moral health of the 

Analytical Psychology. Prof. JUNG. 

This volume contains a very instructive account of the 
psychic-sexual development in a little girl, which affords a lesson 
for parents. 

The Evolution of Sex. Profs. PATRICK GEDDES and A. THOMSON. 
Scott. 43. 6d. 

A plainly written treatise on embryology, reproduction and 
metabolism of the body. 

Sex. Authors as above, is. 6d. 

A useful volume for the instructor and for adolescents. 

Problems of Sex. Authors as above. Cassell, London. 6d. 
A thoughtful booklet. 

Youth and Sex. Part I., Girls. By Dr MARY SCHARLIEB. Part II., 
Boys. By F. ARTHUR SIBLY, M.A. Cassell. 6d. 

Sound hygienic instruction and a discussion of auto erotism 
in schools by a schoolmaster. 

Embryology The Beginnings of Life. Prof. GERALD LEIGHTON, M.D. 
Cassell. 6d. 

A handy little book for teachers. 

The Great Unmarried. WALTER M. GALLICHAN. Laurie, London. 
7 s. 6d. 

An inquiry into the causes of celibacy. Chapters on 
" Adolescent Restraint and Pre-Marital Celibacy," " The Sway 
of Marriage" and "The Uplifting of Marriage." References 
to sex education and training of the young. 

Sexual Ethics. Prof. MICHEL. Scott. 6s. 
A very instructive discussion. 

Sex Education. Prof. MAURICE BIGELOW, Columbia University. 
Macmillan, London. 53. 

This should be in the library of everyone engaged in educa- 


tion or the care of the young. A very strong plea for sexual 
knowledge as a means of race regeneration. 

Reproduction and Sex Hygiene. Prof. STANLEY HALL. 
A sound essay by a foremost educational authority. 

Towards Racial Health. NORAH MARCH, B.Sc. Routledge. 3-5. 6d. 
A well- written, plain account of reproductive processes, well 
adapted as a hand-book for teachers and parents. Practical 
and useful. 

Training of the Young in the Laws of Sex. CANON LYTTELTON. 
Longman, London. 

An earnest, soundly written plea by the former headmaster 
of Eton College. 

Teaching of Sex Hygiene. PRINCE MORROW, M.D. 

This is the work of an American physician which has been 
highly recommended. 

Sex Education. J. WILE, M.D., Dumeld, U.S.A. 

Problems of Sex Education. EXNER. 

By an American investigator of repute. 

Rational Sex Ethics. W. F. ROBIE, M.D. Badger, Boston, U.S.A. 


The publishers announce that this volume is only sold to 
members of the medical and legal profession. It is, however, 
a very serviceable work for teachers. The tone is ethically 
earnest, and the investigation of the sexual lives of a large 
number of normal, intelligent men and women is highly in- 
structive as a basis for inquiry into moral questions of sex. 

Most of the volumes in the above list are for adult studious 
readers. They are chief y too advanced, in the scientific sense, for 
young readers, and are addressed to mature men and women who 
seek honestly for knowledge in the domain of sexual psychology 
and ethics. It is generally not advisable that young people, in 
the first period of adolescence at least, should read pathological 
treatises, or descriptions of the grosser forms of sexual perversion. 
The brighter side of the sex impulse e.g. the normal and healthy 
should be revealed first to the mind of youth. 


The following books by W. STANLEY HALL are of high 
value : 

Chums, Youth and Life Problems (for girls). 

These may be given to boys and girls of the age of fourteen. 

The Human Flower is a simple booklet designed for young children, 
though not entirely accurate scientifically. 

Healthy Boyhood. ARTHUR TREWBY. 

This deals with auto-erotic habits. Havelock Ellis describes 
It as "a little book of wholesome tendency." 


Almost Fourteen. M. A. WARREN. 1892. 

Although highly praised by such an earnest sociologist as 
Ellis, this book was actually condemned in America in 1897. 
It has been reissued " with most of its best portions omitted " 

Preparation for Marriage. HEAPE. Cassell, London. 

This is the title of a book by a well-known anthropologist. 

Personal Information for Girls, For Young Women, For Boys and For 
Young Men are the titles of four booklets by E. EDWARDS. 
Anglo-American Book Co., Wimbledon, London, S.W. is. 

Girl and Woman. Dr CAROLINE LATIMER. 

May be placed in the hands of intelligent girls of fifteen. 

The Human Body. A. KEITH, M.D. Williams & Norgate, London, 
is. 3d. 
A good introduction to physiology. 

Youth's Noble Path. F. J. GOULD. Also for adolescents : On the 
Threshold of Sex. 

The Romance of the Human Body. Dr MACFIE. 

The poetical and scientific method of teaching physiology. 

The Courtship of Animals. W. PYCRAFT. 

This is a fascinating and instructive volume by an ardent 
naturalist. It may be recommended to adolescents. 

The Childhood of Animals. Prof. CHALMERS MITCHELL. 


Volumes on Parentage, Heredity, Eugenics, the Care of 
Children and Conjugal Hygiene are numerous. Among a large 
number, the following may be selected as suitable for an 
ordinary intelligent reader of either sex : 

Human Elements in Sex. Dr ELIZABETH BLACKWELL. 1894. 
Counsel to Parents. Dr ELIZABETH BLACKWELL. 

Differences in the Nervous Organisation of Man and Woman. H. 

Man and Woman. HAVELOCK ELLIS. 
A valuable volume. 

Healthy Marriage. G. T. WRENCH, M.D. 
Plain counsels on hygiene. 

Health and Disease in Relation to Marriage. SENATOR and KAMINER. 

The Art of Taking a Wife. P. MANTEGAZZA. 

Woman and Marriage. MARGARET STEPHENS. 

Before I Marry. Dr T. S. CLOUS TON. 

The Problem of Race Regeneration. HAVELOCK ELLIS. Booklet. 


and Race Regeneration. Dr MARY SCHARLIEB. 
Natural Inhailitncc. FRANCIS GALTON. 
Parenthood and Race Culture. C. W. SALEEBY, M.D. 
Health in the Nursery. W. ASHBY. 
The Physical Life of Woman. G. H. NAPHEYS, M.D. 
Genetics. W. BATESON, M.A. 
Le Mariage. Dr P. GARNIER (French). Gamier Freres, Paris. 

The Psychology of Marriage. WALTER M. GALLICHAN. Laurie & 
Co., London. 53. net. 

An examination of the sex instinct, counsels for husbands, 
wives and parents, and discussion of conjugal hygiene, pre- 
marital restraint and some aberrations of the sexual impulse. 

Causation of Sex. E. R. DAWSON. 6s. 
Heredity. J. A. S. WATSON. Jack, London, yd. 

Love and Marriage. ELLEN KEY. Introduction by Havelock 
Ellis. Putnam. 

Nature of Man. Prof. E. METCHNIKOFF. (References to sex 

The Changing Girl. CAROLINE W. LATIMER. is. Fleming Revell Co. 

Married Love. Dr MARIE STOPES. Preface by Dr Jessie Murray. 
1918. Fifield, 53. 

Offers plain counsel to men and women, and unfolds a theory 
of periodicity in women which demands attention. 

Human Embryology. Prof. KBITH. 


Adolescence. STEPHEN PAGET. Constable, London, yd. 
A sensible pamphlet. 

Problems of Sex. JEAN FINOT (trans.) 
Strongly Feminist. 

1 "he Spirit of Youth and the City Streets. JANE ADDAMS. 
An earnest appeal. 

Sex and Society. W. I. THOMAS. 

How to Love. WALTER M. GALLICHAN. Pearson, London, is. 3d. 
Addressed chiefly to youth. Chapters on the Nature of Man 
and Woman, Marriage as an Art, Chastity, Parentage, etc. 
Prostitution in Europe. FLEXNER. 
Hygiene of School Life. CROWLEY. 
Education in Sex Hygiene. R. N. WILSON. 

Sex Antagonism. W. HEAPE. 

A careful scientific inquiry. 


Psychology of Woman. LAURA MARHOLM. 
Mental Trials of Sex. HELEN B. THOMPSON. 
Women and Labour. OLIVE SCHREINER. 


The Grip of the Venereal Microbe. W. N. WILLIS. Laurie, London. 
35. 6d. 

Plainly written account of the prevalence, dangers, symptoms 
and modern treatment of veneral diseases. 

The Psychopathology of Hysteria. C. D. Fox, M.D. 

Sexual Disabilities of Man. COOPER. 

Evolution of the Diseases of Women. BALLS-HEADLEY. 

Mentally Deficient Children. G. SHUTTLEWORTH and W. POTTS. 
Third edition. 1910. 

Defective Children. Dr G. T. N. KELYNACK, M.D. 

Mother's Manual of Children's Diseases. J. M. DUNCAN. London. 
2S. 6d. 

Social Diseases and Marriage. P. A. MORROW. 155. 

Sterility in Woman. J. M. DUNCAN. 

Woman in Health and Sickness. R. BELL. 

Hygiene in the Nursery. L. STARR. 

Care of Infants. MILDRED BURGESS, M.D. Lewis, London, is. 

The pamphlets issued by The National Council for Combating 
Venereal Diseases (President Lord Sydenham, and Vice- 
Presidents Sir Thomas Barlow and the Bishop of Southwark) will 
be found very useful for parents and instructors. A complete list 
of the publications may be obtained from the General Secretary, 
8 1 Avenue Chambers, Southampton Row, London, W.C.i. 
Ignorance the Great Enemy, by C. Osborne, and The Duty of 
Knowledge, by A. Maude Royden, are judiciously written 
warnings against the perils of sexual disease. Sir Thomas 
Barlow and Sir Malcolm Morris wrote The Problem of Venereal 
Diseases : How Ministers of Religion Can Help. Dr Mary 
Scharlieb has written a booklet, What Mothers must tell their 
Children. This is excellent propaganda literature written by 
expert authorities, and the cost of the pamphlets is only a few 



THROUGHOUT the preceding chapters stress has been laid 
upon the dangers of a lack of knowledge of the nature and 
development of the erotic impulse in childhood and youth, 
and the need for devising the best system of instruction. 
There may be, however, some readers who still under- 
estimate the perils of ignorance. They may desire concrete 
and specific instances of the psychic and physical accidents 
resulting from a want of practical scientific enlightenment. 
The traditional fallacy and misunderstunding that obscure 
the subject tend to the assumption that the enthusiastic 
advocates of sex education overstate the evils of ignorance. 
It is sometimes urged that the average citizen, guided by 
" natural instinct," is not confronted with problems of sex. 
If we examine this view cautiously, we shall discover 
that the mental and moral conflicts arising from the 
profoundest of the emotions are often transferred or 
manifested in vicarious or symbolic forms. A person may 
attribute depression of mind, nervous symptoms, sleep- 
lessness, anxiety, and bodily functional disturbances to 
overstrain in work, uncongenial surroundings or pecuniary 
worry, when these are merely the contributing factors. 
The basic cause of the trouble is often far from the sufferer's 
consciousness. Doubtless, the trials and worries of the 
conscious mind aggravate the nervousness and contribute 
to the depression, though frequently these are less important 
than the subject suspects. The fact is that very few indeed 
can possibly escape entirely from the psychic amative 
conflict in modern civilised life. 



The primary source of a psychoneurosis, or of hysteria, 
is traumatic e.g. arising from physical shock, or injury, 
or mental insults. The symptoms may not show themselves 
immediately after the lesion, but may be induced later on 
by a " liberating stimulus." As an analogy, we may cite 
the instance of the patient who believes that his rheumatism 
is due to lying down on wet grass. But many persons lie 
on wet ground without contracting rheumatism. Exposure 
to damp may act as the liberating stimulus for microbes 
in the body, but the getting wet is not the cause of the 

Shell-shock may act as a liberating stimulus for a neurotic 
injury of old standing, which may not be even suspected. 
One man in the trenches is scarcely alarmed by an explosion 
that may shatter another man's nerves. For one woman 
the loss of a child means a veiling of the sun and the deepest 
despondency ; for a less affectable woman it is a transitory 
grief, and for the abnormal it may not be even a cause of 

A curious and .incomprehensible obsession may arise, as 
an echo of a far-off childish impulse, under a sufficiently 
powerful stimulus. There is no doubt that an early psychic 
insult or shock often produces in predisposed individuals 
marked perturbations, which, though not strictly normal, 
cannot be classed as morbid. 

We have to admit that the strain and complexity of 
modern life in the civilised communities is a fruitful agent 
of mental and nervous disturbance and of actual insanity. 
It may be that " love troubles " are not the commonest 
source of actual cerebral derangement, but there is no 
question that erotic problems in our time engender minor 
forms of nervous and psychic disorder, especially in 

The ancient association of hysteria with the womb was 
not as entirely fanciful as it appears. There is, at all 
events, a close connection between the generative force 
and the mental faculties. It is widely admitted by in- 
vestigators that psychic sexual influences are notable in 
hysteria. We must not theorise crudely that hysterical 
symptoms in women are the result of enforced celibacy 
and unsatisfied physical desire. But we may say safely 


that sexual-emotional injuries are a common cause of 
ia in both men and women. The fact that the 
sufferer is unconscious of the injury does not weaken the 
evidence of a traumatic origin. 

In a recorded case of hysteria in a girl of seventeen, the 
first attack occurred when a cat jumped on to her shoulder 
as she was going downstairs. Here apparently was the 
primary shock. But this incident was not the efficient 
cause. Inquiry proved that, on a previous occasion, a 
young man had made advances to her on the stairs and that 
her emotions had been awakened. 

Again and again we discover that psychoneurotic mani- 
festations arise from such occurrences. The primary 
injury may be caused by a mere startling conversation on 
sexual matters with a companion in childhood ; sudden 
violent erotic overtures, the conflict in the mind of a young 
woman who finds herself falling in love with a friend's 
husband, or the discovery of sexual irregularity in a re- 
spected relative. Any of these experiences may be kept 
inviolably secret, and every effort made to forget them. 
They may sink down into the under-conscious mind, and 
there remain submerged, but not destroyed. The very fact 
that they cannot be mentioned, through fear, shame, 
intense reserve, or prudery, seems to add tenacity to 
these impressions. There is "a foreign body in the 
consciousness" which, sooner or later, is likely to cause 


The foregoing passages may enable the reader to realise 
that guidance in sexual development provides at least a 
measure of protection against psychic sex injuries. The 
utterly unguided are undoubtedly those who are most 
liable to exposure to these shocks, and the most likely to 
suffer extremely. " Leave the direction to nature " is 
the recommendation of the unenlightened. We know 
that the boy or girl, carefully shielded in the home from all 
" impure influences," and not prepared with necessary 
knowledge, may learn corruption in half-an-hour from 
the speech or the example of a bad youthful companion, 


or a debased elder. This is a matter of everyday 

The mystery, the silence, the fear and the bewildering 

Eersonal fantasies associated with the instinct of love 
>ave the great mass pf men and women exposed to psychic 
lesions. Profoundly deep prejudices, repugnances and dis- 
gusts may become embedded in the mental texture in child- 
hood, to result in later life in neurosis, vice, failure in marriage 
or grave errors in living. The greater part of one's in- 
tellectual energy may be used up for a considerable period 
in an effort to expel the delusions foisted upon the mind 
in youth. A revelation of actuality, after a long dream of 
unreality, frequently brings a serious psychic crisis. The 
psychology of the sexual life abounds with instances. 

The persistence of early impressions in the psychic- 
sexual sphere is very remarkable, and must be recognised 
by all who are engaged in the training of the young. Sidis 
studied a case of a man who feared a perverted obsession 
that assailed him. Under analysis it was found that in his 
eighth year schoolmates had committed an outrage on the 
patient. Abhorrent as the idea was to the subject, thoughts 
of abnormal practices continually invaded his mind, Causing 
much distress. 

The over-accentuation of reserve towards sex matters 
in childhood and youth, which is part of the policy of 
" protecting the young," often fails disastrously. This is 
especially noticeable in women. A complete ignorance 
renders the mind intensely susceptible to shock ; and it 
cannot be too frequently repeated that sexual affronts or 
shocks are often serious, and accountable for much married 
disharmony, unhappiness, and even tragedy. There are 
instances of ignorant brides mistaking their husband's 
normal conjugal ardour for grossness or immorality. The 
sudden confronting with altogether novel experiences 
hitherto ; ssociated with sin or disgust may well alarm and 
repel the uninstructed virgin. It is in such revulsions in 
the early days of marriage that discord of the most serious 
character arises ; and from one moment of recoil may 
follow years of secret unhappiness and the annihilation of 
affection and esteem. 



The following cases of the mischievous results of ignorance 
ha\ i- come under my own observation, or have been described 
to me by friends. 

Case i. A medical friend relates that, in his student 
days, he shared rooms with a fellow-student, X. Returning 
one night, he saw his companion sitting in an easy-chair, 
apparently half asleep. As X. did not reply when spoken to, 
his friend approached him and saw a laceration in his throat. 
The cut was deep, but had missed the more vital parts 
and X. had collapsed. His companion gave him medical 
attention, stopped the bleeding and dressed the wound. 
This attempted suicide of X. was the result of terror and 
brooding, induced by reading a lurid pamphlet on the fright- 
ful and inevitable consequences of masturbation. X. had 
never spoken of his dread and sufferings, and had been 
driven into sheer despondency. He recovered of the injury 
to the throat, and of his depression. His friend dispelled his 
fears and gave him sound hygienic counsel. 

Case 2. A young woman of the middle class, brought 
up in total ignorance of the meaning of conjugal relations, 
became engaged at twenty-four. She read a pamphlet 
explaining the reproductive process and was " horrified." 
Later, she learned from a novel that women have sex im- 
pulses, and was appalled to discover that her sex could be 
so " immoral." She married a man a few years older than 
herself. The marriage has been very unhappy, and the pair 
have separated. The husband has since developed alcoholism. 

Case 3. A man, married at the age of twenty-eight, 
had been told that the marital function was extremely 
" weakening." He practised rigid continence for periods 
of months, and the conjugal relation was never quite 
normal. His wife, who was normally constituted, physically 
and mentally, suffered acutely through his coldness. She 
developed neurasthenia, a bad form of anaemia, and eventu- 
ally an affection of the heart, from which she died at the age 
of thirty-four. She attributed much of her ill-health to her 
disappointment in marriage. 1 

1 Refer to Married Love, Dr C. M. Slopes, for instances of similar 
suffering among married women. 


Case 4. A woman with a high ideal of love and marriage 
and a deeply religious nature, married, at about thirty, a 
widower with four children. The husband was pious and 
Puritanical. Disharmony arose from the honeymoon, 
owing to the man's maladroitness in conjugal duties, and 
the bride developed a strong repugnance to the marital 
relation, which became a positive loathing. She was often 
reproached by her partner for not obeying St Paul and 
" submitting herself to her husband." Her life was very 
unhappy. The pair quarrelled frequently, and the wife 
had no affection for her husband. Though she wished to 
leave him, her strong Christian principles forbade a sever- 
ance of the marriage tie. Both partners were prudish in 
their attitude to sexual affairs. The wife taught her 
daughters that " the physical part of marriage " was 
" horrible." 

Case 5. Mrs T., brought up in conventional ignorance, 
married at thirty. On the bridal night she told her husband 
that she would never consent to intercourse. As persuasion 
failed, Mr T. refused to use force and the marriage has never 
been consummated. The husband has formed a clandestine 
intimacy with the wife's close friend. 

Case 6. A normal young man married a sexually an- 
esthetic (frigid) woman. She frequently repelled her 
husband's ardour and caused him great mental suffering. 
The wife's coldness induced psychic sexual impotence in 
the husband. After much unhappiness, the pair were 
divorced. The man married again, and became normal 
and potent. 

Case 7. A girl married an ardent suitor. Soon after 
union she expressed disgust for the physical intimacies 
of wedlock, and blamed nature for " inventing such a 
scheme." The disappointed husband resorted to alcohol 
as a solace. In a few years he was unfaithful, and his 
wife divorced him. He has married again and is happy. 

These are by no means rare instances of the result of 
ignorance. They are unforiunately typical. The more ex- 
perience of life gained, the deeper becomes the conviction 
that the neglect of the art of love, which is the very basis 
of happy marriage, is the cause of some of the profoundest 
misery known to humanity. In the majority of unions 


there has been no attempt to acquire even theoretical 
scientific knowledge, and no plain apprehension of the fact 
that the spiritual felicities depend upon mutual recognition 
of the necessity for cultivating the mind in the right conduct 
of a lifelong, intensely intimate and very complex relation- 
ship. Love is a tender and precious bloom, beautiful 
beyond our dreams, but, like all fragile flowers, it is vulner- 
able to rude winds, sensitive to frost, and liable to languish 
and pine without constant care and tendance. 

The presuppositions of most persons, and especially of the 
closely " guarded " virgin, concerning marital conduct are 
derived from surmises and traditions of fantasy and ignor- 
ance, which would be ludicrous were they not tragic in their 
consequences. It is an amazing anomaly that the most 
important matter in our lives should be one that we place 
outside of the boundary of approved knowledge. That 
there can be any association between a romantic, passionate 
love and the classification of facts that will aid in confirm- 
ing and conserving the emotion is, to some minds, an ap- 
parently incomprehensible proposition. But it is absolutely 
beyond dispute that knowledge must take the place of fantasy 
in the practical usage of the potent emotion of love. In no 
human sphere is ignorance so perilous as in conjugal love. 

The more we learn of the potentiality of a harmonious 
co-operation of the sexes in the supreme task of giving life, 
the moral influence that is diffused by successful marriages, 
and the excellence of a realisation of " a city of lovers and 
friends," the more urgent is our desire that this force should 
be studied in all its phases, bearings and possibilities. We 
are urged, therefore, to place the psychology of love in the 
foremost rank of the inquiries essential for founding finer 
ethical standard, a practical sociology and a new "ideal of 
racial regeneration. In fine, we need a Science of Sex. 

" Whenever there is the slightest possibility for the human 
mind to know, there is a legitimate problem of science. 
Outside the actual field of knowledge can only lie a region 
of the vaguest opinion and imagination, to which unfor- 
tunately men too often, but still with decreasing prevalence, 
pay higher respect than to knowledge." 1 

In the actual cases given above, the menace of ignorance 
1 Prof. Karl Pearson, The Grammar of Science. 


among women is clearly instanced. Most matrimonial 
trouble must be ascribed to this mental unpreparedness for 
an entirely new relation with one of the other sex. Psychic 
affront is an extremely common phenomenon among 
women. It is a frequent cause of coldness in conjugality, 
the sexual anaesthesia that provides a harassing problem 
for a host of husbands, and blights the joy of wedlock for 
a greater host of women. Dr Marie Stopes is disposed to 
believe that probably eighty per cent, of wives do not 
experience the benefit that nature has ordained as the 
accompaniment of the sex act. When I mentioned this 
estimate to a married man and the father of a family, he 
remarked that it was too low. He believed that there are 
not even twenty per cent, of married women who know this 

Ellis has collected many instances of mental suffering and 
physical injuries, some of them serious, through ignorance 
of marital function. "It is indeed astounding to find how 
ignorant, both practically and theoretically, very able and 
highly educated men may be concerning sexual matters." l 

The rout deceives himself that he understands women 
and love. Often he does not possess the least comprehen- 
sion of the virginal mind. His experiences with professional 
courtesans have imbued him with false ideas concerning 
women. One medical authority records over one hundred 
and fifty cases of injury inflicted by husbands on wives. 
The psychic harm is frequently even more serious in after- 
effects ; the emotions receive deep wounds, leaving scars 
that may last for a lifetime. Repugnance shown by wives 
towards natural union is extremely frequent, and the prime 
cause must be sought in the ignorance of both sexes. 

It may be said truly that we are all of us the unthinking 
victims of an evil upbringing, which exposes us from 
childhood to senility to injury to ourselves and to the risk 
of injuring even those whom we most love. 


The chances of committing error in wedlock must remain 
very high until the great mass oj men and women are educated 
1 Sex in Relation to Society. 


in conjugal behaviour from all standpoints, psychic, moral 
and physiological. We shall never solve the riddle why 
marriage is so often a failure until we realise this fact. It is 
well to preach love, patience, forbearance, sympathy and 
control. But these excellent factors of married affection 
may fail completely if psychic injury, wrought through 
ignorance, is the misfortune of one partner or the other. 
A mental shock in an hour of tense emotion may shatter 
the hope of conjugal happiness during life. So potent is the 
influence of the mind upon the body that a shock to the 
sensitive soul frequently inhibits the normal expression of 
wedded love for the whole span of existence. However 
deeply the affronted person may long to banish the inhibiting 
feeling, it still endures, and defies expulsion. The obstruct- 
ing recoil, or the aversion, may be clearly viewed as irrational 
or abnormal. Nevertheless the sufferer's will is paralysed. 
The delicate psychic mechanism has been jarred beyond 

We are apt to attempt the impossible by severing body 
and spirit in an estimate of the love of the sexes. The 
most inspiring and beautiful instances of spiritual love in 
marriage arise from the fortunate fusion of two psychic 
and corporal affinities. In these unions we shall never 
fail to discern a harmonious adjustment and intermingling 
of the two vital elements. We often attribute these success- 
ful marriages to chance. No doubt, in spite of knowledge 
and discretion, a man or a woman may be swept, on a 
mighty wave of emotion, into a disastrous union. But we 
are prone to overvalue the influence of " chance " in wed- 
lock, and to accept a fatalistic view of the possibility of 
great felicity. If we convince ourselves that this is a ques- 
tion of " sheer luck," we are scarcely likely to prepare 
ourselves for the risks. It would be as reasonable to argue 
that success in business is " all a matter of luck." We are 
shrewd enough to recognise that knowledge counts in the 
struggle for money-getting. Cannot knowledge aid us in 
the realisation of love and concord in wedlock ? 

The true consummation of love in marriage is continually 
threatened and hindered by the common mistakes repeated 
generation after generation. Men and women continue to 
reproach one another and to foster antagonism, through 



the neglect of knowledge of the secondary sexual characters. 
Women think that men can be lured or coerced into denials 
or to actions which are inherently more feminine than 
masculine ; and men often imagine that women can be 
shaped intellectually and emotionally upon the male model. 
The comparative passivity of women in love is a cause 
of offence to one man and a high virtue in the esteem of 
another. Both men view the matter with an absence of 
psychological comprehension. This " passivity " is often 
the disguise assumed by a sensitive woman reared in the 
masculine tradition that women should live in vestal 
ignorance. Man unjustly censures woman for the very 
qualities that ages of patriarchal authority have imposed 
upon her. 

With equal unreason, some women frequently admonish 
men because they are apt to place great importance on the 
gratification of the erotic impulse. Women forget that this 
is a male characteristic throughout organic nature, and 
overlook the fact that all along the line of human evolution 
their sex has accentuated maleness by choosing the most 
vigorous and virile men as partners. Men have intensified 
women's innate amorous resistances by means of pro- 
scriptions and penalties, and women have heightened man's 
eroticism by numerous lures and also by the enforced 
cultivation of an extreme reserve and diffidence. Instead 
of blaming each other for a condition that has developed 
out of ages of slow evolution, barbaric experiment, and a 
lack of psychology, both sexes should endeavour to readjust 
their relations by beginning to learn some of the funda- 
mental sex differences in structure, disposition, aptitude, 
intellect, emotion, aspiration and desire. 

Reverting to the question of the perils of ignorance, it 
may be said that a volume at least might be written on the 
subject. There is the eugenic ideal of race culture, that 
tends to the highest moral and physical well-being of 
offspring and posterity, and there is the dysgenic practice, 
which prevails wherever knowledge is in disesteem. 

The eugenic question covers too wide a field for even 
brief discussion. I may, however, attempt to show the 
prevalence of some factors of degeneration. The high 
infant mortality rate, the increase of mental defectives, the 


too common occurrence of premature births, still births 
ami misi-.-m-iagrs, the inability of many nmtli<T, to 
tlu-ir children, the enormous prevalence of uterine dis- 
placement, the number of ovarian maladies, the results 
of the racial poisons of alcohol, syphilis and tuberculosis, 
the extent of sterility, the effects of hard labour upon the 
maternal function, and the risks to national health through 
too frequent rapidly successive pregnancies all these evils 
are of vital social significance. Most of them, if not all, 
are remediable. It is a question of social science, moral 
solicitude and systematic action. 

As we advance in civilisation and humanism, we may 
reach a period when it will be considered immoral to permit 
the young to grow up in ignorance of the supremest duties 
of mankind. Our heirs of a higher social order will look 
back with wondering horror upon the preventable sin, 
disease and misery of our day, as we gaze now upon the 
pages of past human apathy, ignorance, vice and folly. 

Every young man and woman about to enter upon the 
responsible duties of parenthood should have passed through 
a graduated course of sex education from the nursery 
to the school, and from the school to the public lecture 
or to the hygienic and therapeutic counsellors appointed by 
the State. There should be full scientific instruction for 
girls before marriage. The care of health during menstrua- 
tion and pregnancy and infant hygiene and the management 
of children ought to be foremost subjects in all female 
educational schemes. Both sexes should be taught that 
haphazard procreation is a sin. The solemnity of the 
function of giving life must be impressed upon the mind at 
puberty. Upon marrying, young couples should know the 
rules of healthy conjugal life, the varying emotional and 
physical needs of man and woman, and the importance of 
shielding the unborn child from harm. They should have 
learned that breast-fed children stand a better chance of 
attaining vigour and beauty, and resisting diseases, than 
the artificially nourished. They should understand that 
every human being born ought to have a fair start, not only 
from birth, but from the time when its potentialities lie 
in the germ plasm of the progenitors. 

Early marriage should be encouraged by the moralist 


and the social hygienist as the most effective restraint 
upon vice, and for the physical and mental welfare of society. 
Enforced child-bearing should be condemned. The wife 
should be the owner of her body and the determining 
partner in the matter of reproduction. 

A high enthusiasm for the production of beautiful and 
vigorous offspring should be cultivated by every possible 
means. The fallacy that the healthiest parents produce 
the largest families of healthy children should be corrected. 
When children are born rapidly from a single mother, the 
chances of death for the later-born children are very great, 
and the later offspring are likely to be feeble. The seventh- 
born die in some communities at the rate of 330 per 1000, 
and more than half of the twelfth-born infants in every 
thousand are doomed to an early death. There is a steady 
rise in the infant death-rate per 1000 after the birth of the 
fourth child. 

The burning question of sexual hygiene before and after 
marriage can no longer be excluded from education in the 
home and the school on the plea that such teaching is 
non-essential. Louder and more insistent comes the 
demand from thoughtful persons in every civilised country 
and in every class of the community. The Great War, rag- 
ing while this book was written, has opened the eyes of a 
multitude to the existence of menacing problems connected 
with the relations of the sexes. The savage survivals of 
fierce and cruel lusts have been instanced in foul enemy 
atrocities that cannot be published openly. The untimely 
deaths of hosts of the most vigorous men and the maiming 
of the body and the mind of countless thousands have 
complicated the social anomaly of the unmated woman. 
The aftermath of war provides new enigmas for the eugenist, 
the reformer in sexual hygiene, the legislator and the 

A common example of the contradictions, conflicting 
ideas and the prevailing haze in the average mind, when 
sexual questions are discussed, is the tendency to refer 
the amative instinct to a low or animal sphere of human 
nature. Yet nothing shows the great differentiation 


between the sex impulse in the animal and the m.m 
tli, in the man's capacity for making love serve other high 
purposes besides the generative. 

Nature's processes are slow. We are fain to believe 
that the genus Man is extremely ancient. If mankind have 
existed on the globe for five hundred thousand years, what 
is such a period in the cosmic sense ? It is certain that 
animals peopled the earth scores of millions of years before 
men were known. For an aeon of time there were no human 
beings in the world. The vaunted " lord of creation " is a 
recent development of animal life, and in his body are 
numerous vestigial organs reminding him of his pre-human 
ancestry. In the brain of man also are thoughts, desires, 
passions and impulses of brute-like, feral, barbarous fore- 

The history of human love is still in its earliest pages. 
Romantic passion as we know it is a recent development. 
There are races of men on the earth to-day whose love ideals 
scarcely attain to those of the birds and the higher mammals. 
There are hosts of men and women in the advanced civilised 
states whose conception of love is hardly above the animal 
plane. On the other hand, there are some highly evolved 
human beings who instance the enormous potentiality of 
this passion of the soul and the body in noble lives, the 
sublimation of the coarser sensual elements, and the exalta- 
tion of the spiritual. They are those who show us the 
possibilities of sex love in its finest development, and 
inspire hope for an era when this spiritualising power will 
emerge from the swamps and thickets of a social order that 
inhibits its supreme activity and progress. 

We cannot look for a renascence of love until we under- 
stand the meaning of sex in human affairs. We are hurled, 
as it were, from rock to brier in our ideas upon the erotic 
power. One person guides us to the obstructing boulder 
of the mind that love is simply carnal desire ; another leads 
us to the entangling brier that " spiritual " love is some- 
thing wholly sunderable from all desire of the senses. 
One moralist teaches that our only hope of salvation from 
the fetters of a gross instinctive impulse is in an abnormal 
and constant asceticism. The prescriptions and the pro- 
scriptions are so bewildering and numerous that the mass 


of our young men and women are without any sure light 
to their feet in a journey beset with constant dangers and 

The daily spectacle of the sightless or the purblind 
endeavouring to lead the inexperienced among the morasses 
and thorns of the erotic life is a lamentable reflection upon 
our widely proclaimed culture and morality. Many of us 
act criminally towards the young by withholding the truth 
that alone can protect. We utter a few wise saws, whisper 
an injunction of " purity," without knowing ourselves what 
" purity " or " chastity " really mean, and leave practical 
guidance untouched. We deliberately, in the majority 
of cases, obscure the truth under the fatal delusion that 
darkening facts promotes a facility for virtue. That is to 
say, we send our boys and girls on an errand along a cliff 
edge, assuring them that the path is dangerous, while we 
carefully blindfold them upon starting. Such is the out- 
come of the reticences, the deceptions, the evasions and the 
false modesty which influenced the mass of us in our child- 
hood. We know that below the cliff are the ruthless sea 
and the jagged reefs, and that many in our experience have 
stumbled to death. Yet we are silent, or, if we whisper, 
we confuse or mislead. And we say that we love our 
children. , 

It is time that we taught ourselves and our children 
that the love of man and woman is not an ethereal essence, 
entirely sublimated or separated from the physical impul- 
sion, and prevented others from equally deceiving them by 
suggesting that love simply means sexual intercourse. 
We must tell them the truth, because it is beautiful and of 
good report. We must explain that out of this imperious 
bodily craving has developed a transcendently marvellous 
emotion that purifies and exalts the soul, that increases 
sympathy and unselfishness, that irradiates from the 
family to the community, that quickens the sense of beauty, 
deepens moral and religious feeling, and vitalises all the 
powers of humanity. 

Shall this be our basis of teaching, an instruction begun 
tenderly by the mother, and continued by those entrusted 
with the care of the child and the adolescent ; or shall we 
perpetuate the present neglect, which leaves our children 


the prey to forbidding fancies, to idle and mischievous 
presuppositions, to doubts and alarms, and to the degrading 
and destructive influence of the untaught, the halt- 
enlightened, the viciously frivolous, the indecent and the 
vile-minded ? 




THERE is a general view among reformers of the vital branch 
of education discussed in these pages that the primary 
teacher should be the mother. This brings us to a con- 
sideration of the relation of the Woman's Movement, or 
Feminism, to the subject of sex. Upon woman devolves 
the principal share in the transmission of life and the up- 
bringing of children. If women are even less capable and 
prepared than men for the task of training the young in 
the laws of life, this incapacity requires an immediate 
remedy, because upon the initial direction depends almost 
all the chances of success in later education. 

The freeing of women from the shackles of the barbaric 
ages is not simply a matter of admission to the electorate, 
the amelioration of legal enactments bearing upon marriage 
and divorce, and industrial reforms. Most important of 
all is the removal of the hampering prejudice that has placed 
an understanding of the sex question outside of the field of 
women's education. The greater part of life must no longer 
be regarded, as Henry James once said, as " a sealed book 
to the virgin." Intellectual emancipation should accom- 
pany liberation from civic and social injustice. 

It has been a part of the " polite education " of women 
to exclude or to hide the great truths of the human funda- 
mental instincts. Women have acquiesced in this taboo 
upon knowledge from a mistaken self-protective sense. 
But this shrinking from the light, though it has always 
gratified the more sensuous types of men, who would have 
women " innocent " which simply means, in this respect, 
childish and ignorant and appeased the patriarchal 
males, who adhere to the code of feminine subjection, has 
never been a protection for woman. This ignorance has, 



on the contrary, proved one of the gravest dangers of 
womanhood. The chief source of the tragedies of woman's 
life is to be sought in the moral conflicts, the emotional stress, 
the conjugal and domestic problems, and the multiform 
difficulties arising from the relations of the sexes and the 
function of maternity. 

Besides the high chance of a life of involuntary celibacy, 
women are exposed to greater risks of unhappiness in 
marriage than the mass of men. For many reasons, the 
home remains the normal sphere of woman, in spite of the 
great increase of women workers in most professions and 
trades. So long as the racial instinct exists, woman will 
be the chief maker of the home, and will find her highest 
satisfaction in family life. Woman's welfare is therefore 
even more dependent upon a peaceful and pleasant domestic 
environment than the well-being of the average man is 
dependent upon the " fireside clime." Marriage to the 
great multitude of women means motherhood, the co- 
operation of man in founding the family, the consummation 
of strong yearnings for affection and sympathy, and the fulfil- 
ment of imperative functions. Upon wedlock the greater 
number of women stake all their chances of happiness. 

It is painfully apparent that a large proportion of wives 
never realise their maiden dreams of married love. They 
may not repine openly, nor resign themselves to hopeless 
despondency ; but the sense of disappointment is often 
present, and only slightly relieved by the reflection that 
disillusionment is the common lot of the married, and that 
what cannot be cured must be endured. The view that it 
is better to be unfortunately mated than not married is 
not an invariable consolation. An unhappily married 
woman is very frequently more unhappy than her spinster 
sister. She may suffer more in health of mind and body 
than the celibate woman whose love emotion has never 
been vitally stirred. 

The radical causes of conjugal infelicity among women 
are ignorance of their own physiological and psychic 
organisation, misapprehension of natural laws governing 
sex union, and a very imperfect understanding of the 
nature of man. This lack of the knowledge requisite for 
successful matrimony is frequently entirely unconscious. 


The maiden has not the least intimation of her profound 
ignorance, or at the most she is only vaguely aware of this 
deficiency. She is urged into betrothal and marriage by 
sentiment, the glamour of love, the desire for a home of 
her own, and the conventional view that marriage gives 
social status to a woman. Frequently her strongest 
passions are not concerned. She is unaware of their very 
existence. Courtship may awaken dormant impulse; but 
the full import of the desires are not grasped, or they may be 
strenuously resisted as evil promptings. The ardour of the 
wooer may bewilder and even affront the inexperienced 
girl, and her natural feminine reserve and modesty may 
become an abnormal or morbid revulsion after marriage. 

The woman who has been sedulously instructed from girl- 
hood that sex is essentially " our lower desires," and that 
the ways of nature are mysteriously shameful, and the 
woman who has received no counsel of any kind are in the 
gravest peril of misfortune in wedlock. They may pass 
the greater part of their lives in a peculiarly acute process 
of ridding themselves of the deep-rooted thorns implanted 
in the mind through direct teaching of a false kind, or the 
growths that have accumulated through secret personal 
speculation and surmise. Marriage is for many men and 
women a hard school for unlearning the misconceptions and 
fallacies formed in the mind during childhood and youth. 

Divested of the human right of preliminary theoretical 
knowledge, the bride is entirely dependent upon the initia- 
tion of the husband. Realisation is sudden, vehement 
and frequently poignant. The man is usually as ignorant 
of his wife's deepest psychic and physical needs as she is of 
his. Neither of the partners in this great undertaking 
is cognisant of the manifold risks to which their ignorance 
or their miseducation exposes them. They rely wholly 
upon the fact that they are in love with one another. 
They have not learned that the art of love is the sole 
conservator of affection in marriage. 


We are wont to believe that feminine resistance to sane 
instruction in sex matters is a deep-seated, even hereditary, 


characteristic. Experience proves that this conception 
is erroneous. The indifference or the hostility exhibited 
by many persons is not innate and inherent. This apathy 
rarely exists in the child of normal intelligence. There is 
a budding curiosity, which ,is perfectly natural and com- 
prehensible. The child is deeply impressed by the birth 
of a baby in the home, and questions arise in his or her 
mind. Children arc witnesses of the caresses that the 
parents lavish upon one another. They hear of love- 
making, engagements and marriages. But the little girl, 
especially, is silenced or reproved when she seeks to 
appease her curiosity, and gradually and surely she 
absorbs, in the innermost parts of her mind, the idea 
that this or that is a " rude " topic, or a " naughty " one. 

This method of suppression is maintained in the nursery 
and elaborated when the girl approaches puberty. She 
is tutored in the belief that the things she longs most to 
know are "unmentionable," "improper," "not nice." A 
whole vocabulary of argot-terms is invented in many house- 
holds to describe necessary physical needs and acts. Direct 
speech, even if necessary, is interdicted. The awful topics 
must be broached in shameful whispers, and new words 
coined to express natural functions. Certain books are 

E laced on the parental index. There is a constant, almost 
jverish anxiety lest the girl of fourteen should know 
" those things that no nice girl should know." There is a 
strict code of modest posture, demeanour, reticence and 
thought, which intensely accentuates the girl's reserve, but 
by no means diminishes her inquisitiveness. 

This " education " is often carried to incredibly ridiculous 
lengths. The girl is told practically that virtue and attrac- 
tiveness are synonymous with a colossal ignorance of life, 
until she may cherish an ideal that dullness and stupidity 
are the greatest of feminine charms. The censorship upon 
the acquisition of knowledge of the fundamental matters 
of human existence fosters an apathy towards, or a recoil 
from, learning in general. The curiosity, which is the 
hopeful germ of an inquiring spirit and habit, is starved, 
or destroyed, or diverted from the subjects that matter to 
idle inquisition about the petty doings of neighbours and 
trivial gossip and scandal-spreading. 


When the ill-educated young woman reaches the age of 
marriage, her mind is a mass of misconceptions, pruderies, 
prejudices, disgusts and monstrous errors in all that relates 
to sex love. From sheer ignorance, she may have formed 
habits that will mar or ruin conjugal harmony. Her up- 
bringing may become the direct cause of recoil from 
normal married love, or of erotic hysterical or neurasthenic 
symptoms that will bring misery to herself and her husband. 

These instances of the detrimental effects upon the 
character and mind of women, when reasonable knowledge 
is withheld or discountenanced, are not hypothetical, but 
typical of average homes in societies described as " cultured." 
We may note numerous families among our acquaintances 
wherein the young men are more or less promiscuous in 
their sex relations, scornful of chastity, and entirely dis- 
regardful of their responsibility to the race ; while the 
young women are scrupulously shielded from vital know- 
ledge, generally stunted in intelligence, and warped in 
judgment upon the conduct of the sex life in relation to 
morality, hygiene and maternity. It cannot be said that 
youth brought up with these pernicious falsities of a vary- 
ing standard of sex morality for men and women, without 
scientific knowledge, and without reverence for love and 
parentage, are likely to hand on a finer tradition to their 

It is extremely doubtful whether the prudish opposition 
to sexual enlightenment is mainly feminine. I am inclined 
to the opinion that the resistance is stronger in men, and 
that the legitimate desire of woman to learn has been 
immensely inhibited by masculine objection. There is 
every possible evidence that men have stubbornly resisted 
women's demands for a broader education. This hostility 
to the cultivation of the mind of woman is powerfully 
instanced in the matter of sex education. We know fathers 
of families who think that boys may be allowed to learn 
a few physiological facts, but that girls should be kept in 
the darkest possible ignorance until marriage. The main 
desire of the austerely conservative conventional man has 
been to preserve the patriarchal tradition of the "protection " 
of women through ignorance. 

Although an intelligent, inquiring adolescent girl may 


desire an ^-vntial understanding of life, she is rarely able 

.press this longing frankly. She is forced to conceal 1 
curiosity. This concealment is necessary in the environ- 
ment in \vluYh she is reared and educated. Candid inquiry 
would be clremed unwomanly or improper; therefore the 
girl is forced to assume an attitude of incuriosity and of 
ignorance. She must cherish at all costs a reputation for 
extreme delicacy and reserve. Now this self-protecting 
pose often engenders dissimulation, pretence and even 

Usually a woman dare not be truthful, if she desires to 
maintain the esteem of her associates, and especially of her 
men associates. Men say that women tend to be un- 
truthful, deceptive, and secretive, forgetting that women 
are in the main as men wish them to be. If truth and 
frankness are condemned as unfeminine, what course is 
open to women in the mass save pretence and unveracity ? 
We say that women are notoriously inaccurate, that 
they have no apperception of scientific precision, and that 
they are more emotional than reflective. But how much 
of this apparent dislike of the truth is inherent and how 
much is attributable to nurture, custom and social in- 
fluences ? I believe that nine-tenths of woman's tendency 
to intellectual timidity is due simply to her faulty education 
and her compliance with masculine standards of feminine 

The natural spirit of inquiry in women concerning the 
greatest of the human emotions is demonstrated by the fact 
that many of the earliest writers on questions of sex were 
women. It is shown by the avidity with which novels and 
love tales are read by women. This desire for knowledge 
is, above all, evidenced by the intellectual zeal with which 
educated women of to-day respond to the request of the 
scientific investigators of sex problems for assistance in 
collecting data and forming clear opinions. There is prob- 
ably not a single volume of such research which has been 
written without the co-operation of earnest and thoughtful 
women. Furthermore, some of the most valuable and 
practical modern volumes upon sex hygiene are the work of 

Whenever intelligent women free their minds from the 


impedimenta of their early nurture and the resistances 
fostered by the vulgar, social view of sex, they tend to excel 
men in truth-telling, in fine intuition and in courage. They 
realise acutely the absolute need for plain discussion of 
subjects that deeply concern woman's racial obligations, 
her relation to man, her social status, her most sacred 
emotions, her physical well-being and the culture of her 

In this great reform I look confidently for the help of 
earnest-minded women. It is they who can aid most 
efficiently in producing " that social state of mind in which 
the whole question of sex will be lifted from the filth of the 
street to its proper spiritual setting." * 


The preoccupation of women with the profound emotion 
that unites the sexes is unquestionably normal. It is true 
that obsessions occasionally arise and lead to erotomania, 
or an excessive yearning for love. But the natural craving 
for man's ardour and affection should never be confused 
with abnormality. This desire should be made one of the 
great uplifting and spiritual influences of young woman- 
hood. The girl who with sweet candour admits a longing 
for love to her mother should not be foolishly reproved or 
idly bantered ; but the aspiration should be welcomed as 
an indication of a capacity for fulfilling a supreme duty and 
a natural destiny. 

There are persons who affect that an interest in love is a 
sort of perversion, and who class as " cranks " all those who 
evince a desire to understand this passion. It is just this 
disesteem of healthy impulse which induces self-deception 
in women, and renders them morbidly reserved concerning 
their strongest emotions. The dread of contempt or deri- 
sion drives the perfectly sane desires into the darkest corners 
of the mind, where they are apt to become transformed into 
"submerged complexes." 

We must destroy the falsehood that it is unseemly or im- 
modest for an adolescent girl, or for any woman, to confess 
a longing for love and marriage. It should be known that 
1 Havelock Ellis in New Statesman, 25th May 1918. 


sexual precocity in childhood is more fivqurnt among girls 
than boys, and that girls air muir susceptible than their 
brothers to an early development of sentimental love. We 
should recognise also that the deprivation of love has more 
injurious physical and mental results upon women than 
men. Furthermore, the craving for motherhood is, in a 
vast number of women, the profoundest of all human long- 
ings. These are facts that should convince us of the 
immense sway of love in woman's life. The dominance of 
the reproductive impulse is more diffused and more im- 
portant in the female than in the male. l 

It is therefore apparent that rational sex education is of 
extreme importance for women, not only for their personal 
well-being, but in the interest of their children and the com- 
munity at large. The whole social attitude to the sexual 
relationship could be raised if women were more solicitous 
in this matter. As it is, the sex question is not seriously 
considered by the bulk of the mothers of the race. This 
apathy has lamentable results upon the young, who should 
look to the mother for the natural appeasing of childish 
curiosity. 1 

Beginning with prudent and sympathetic enlightenment 
in the home, the training of girls in this sphere of racial and 
civic science should be continued in the schools in graduated 
biological class teaching, in private and personal conversa- 
tion with capable instructors, and in the direction of a choice 
of suitable reading. The time may not be far off when we 
shall institute schools for preparing young men and women 
for marriage and parentage. We shall probably recognise 
that a training for conjugality is quite as important as a 
training for business. 

In these colleges students would be taught, as a part of 
general culture, that it is the first duty of men and women 
to understand the nature of the fundamental physiological 
and psychic differences between the sexes. Race improve- 
ment would be elevated to the status of religion or ethics. 
The care of motherhood would be respected as an impera- 
tive social duty. Child nurture would be based upon sound 
psychology and scientific hygiene. 

We may already see portents of a new estimate of sexual 
1 See The Psychology of Marriage, chapter iv. 


love as a prime moralising and socialising influence. The 
war has deepened some of the problems of sex, and aroused 
a spirit of inquiry and a widespread solicitude for the diffu- 
sion of knowledge, which will aid us in forming a practical 
morality and a protective hygiene. 



I HAVE invited the opinions of several English educationists 
upon the scope and methods of sex teaching in schools and 
colleges. In a fair number of instances I have received 
replies to my letters and some of the communications have 
proved very helpful. But there are still many teachers 
who have not reached any definite conclusions and many 
more who, while they have a general approval of this 
scholastic reform, have no concrete plan and no tenta- 
tive suggestions to offer. Many headmasters and head- 
mistresses seem to be solicitous in the matter and to desire 
the aid of full discussion of the question as a part of 
pedagogics. Some teachers still shirk the question. 

The Headmaster of Rugby School, Mr DAVID, refers to 
a pamphlet by Mr Gary Gilson, M.A., King Edward's 
School, Birmingham, which he strongly recommends. 
This is A Letter to Parents.** Mr David states that 
he " agrees entirely with Mr Gilson," who thinks that 
children's questions should be answered, and that en- 
lightenment should be gradual. The Letter states that " no 
reliance can be placed on the ascetic ideal as a motive for 
chastity and self-control to be put before boys, but immense 
confidence in the ideal of happy marriage to which such self- 
control is an indispensable preliminary." Mr Gilson is of 
the opinion that " the advice should be given viva voce in 
quiet and entirely private conversation, not necessarily 
or even desirably restricted to these particular subjects. 
Instruction must be graduated: (i) in the nursery ; (2) in 
the school ; (3) in the middle stage of the school course at 
puberty ; (4) upon leaving school at eighteen to nineteen." 

Mr T. H. BADLEY, Headmaster of Bedales School, Peters- 

1 Parents and teachers can obtain copies of the pamphlet for sixpence 
from the Secretary, King Edward's School, Birmingham. 

o 209 


field, issues a sensible pamphlet, which he sends to the 
parents of his pupils. It contains an outline of his own 
views and practice in the matter of sex education. Mr 
Badley writes in a letter : 

" I feel most strongly that the beginning should be made 
by the mother, in order that the subject may always, if the 
foundation is laid in this way, be associated with her in the 
child's mind. The more definite instruction is best given, 
as a rule, I believe, by someone, either the schoolmaster or 
medical man, who can put the thing on a quite scientific 
and matter-of-fact basis ; but only if he knows the boy well 
enough to have his confidence. 

" Something, no doubt, can be done in class in the course 
of lessons on plant or animal physiology or hygiene, but I 
doubt myself whether the most valuable teaching can be 
given in this way, for the reason that boys, as a rule, are not 
able to treat the thing so simply or to talk of their own ideas 
and puzzles in one another's presence ; and a mere lecture 
is not all that is wanted, but help in meeting the boys' 
individual difficulties. 

" At the same time some mention of the subject in the 
course of the ordinary class work is of real help in making 
it a matter of scientific interest and putting it on the same 
footing as other kinds of knowledge, and so helping to 
remove the feeling of ' stolen waters ' and ' bread eaten 
in secret,' which is too apt to be the result of speaking of it 
only in private and with any air of mystery and hesitation. 
What, above all, one wants to avoid is the idea on the child's 
part that there is anything to cause shame in the facts or 
the knowledge of them, so long as they are honestly come 
by and thought of cleanly, and associated with our best 
feelings instead of our meanest. 

" It needs, I think, a feeling of freedom and confidence 
on both sides, and must be varied to suit the individual 
child ; for this reason I have not much belief in putting 
books on the subject into the hands of the child and expect- 
ing them to do all that is required. They may be easily 
misunderstood or misused. Nor, for the same reason, 
would I trust to sermons or to general talks to several at 
once. I attach far more value to a good talk with the boy, 
alone, at the age of fourteen or fifteen (I assume that this is 


not the first time he has been talked with, but I should wish 
it to be by his parents his mother especially beforr- ho 
comes to school and in the earlier years there) a talk which 
will make it easy for him to come and talk again if he wants 
to, and another before he leaves school on the new condi- 
tions and dangers he will then meet. This seems to me to 
be required whether there is any class teaching or not. 

" I am afraid that these rather disconnected notes will 
not be of much use to you, but perhaps from these and the 
Note JOY Parents you will at least be able to see along what 
lines I feel that the problem is best approached." 

The Rev. W. T. A. BARBER, The Leys School, Cambridge, 
thinks that all children should have guidance and a certain 
amount of information. This should be given in the early 
stage by the mother. It should not be too detailed, but it 
should be frank, and it should be always associated with 
mother love. One mother told the Rev. W. T. A. Barber 
that when she informed her little son that he came from her 
body he said : " That must be the reason why I love you 

" When the boy grows his father should give him some 
information about his physical nature and some warning 
as to the possibility of abuse of that nature. This should 
be done in a friendly and non-alarmist way. My custom at 
a good-sized boarding-school is to send a carefully written 
booklet, originally made for the boys of this school, under 
the imprimatur of the Association of School Medical Officers, 
to the father, with a covering letter. I ask him to let his 
boy read it as sent by his headmaster and to make sure that 
it is understood. 

" It is important that this knowledge and warning should 
come with the united force of the authority of home and 
school. The boy gives up the book and is advised not to 
talk about it. On the whole this is as good a plan as I 
know. I certainly do not advise class instruction ; and 
occasional reference to the principles of purity in sermons 
and Scripture lessons is quite easy, but detailed instruction 
s pupils far too self-conscious, and self-consciousness is 
to be avoided at all costs. 

" Even in religion, which is the supreme power to 
ncoquer wrong of this, as of every type, much thinking 


about it is mischievous. The only way is to claim divine 
help and then vigorously turn attention to something else." 

Mr LOWERISON, Ruskin House School, Heacham, Norfolk, 
believes that in a co-education school, such as his, repro- 
duction may be taught by simple botanical lessons and not 
much beyond this in class teaching. He illustrates sym- 
bolically adolescent restraint by the pinching of buds of 
an immature fruit tree, which must not be allowed to bear 
so young. Mr Lowerison, in dealing directly with sex 
questions, makes use of the tenth Law of the Scouts. All 
his pupils are Scouts and Girl Guides. 

He knows of no book or pamphlet that is of any good. 
"The individual must be appealed to. The bairns love 
and reverence their mothers and fathers, and all the more 
the mother when they feel how much she has borne for them. 
Still, very much can be done in class, but such lessons have 
to be gone over word by word almost beforehand/' 

IRA S. WILE, M.D., Lecturer in the New York University 
School of Pedagogy and Editor Medical Review of Reviews, 
states that "Sex education merits careful consideration 
because it is an essential feature of the implied educational 
value of education itself. . . . The church, the home, and 
the school have uniformly and consciously avoided giving 
the essential information for proper sex conduct, despite 
the fact that such neglect has brought untold suffering 
to humanity." Dr Wile holds that fundamental facts 
should be taught in the home. After the seventh grade is 
reached in the schools, teaching should be given in a specific 
form by well-informed sympathetic instructors. " In the 
high schools it is possible to give a few definite lectures." 
The teaching must be " upon a high biological, ethical and 
social plane." Individualised sex instruction is not practi- 
cal in a Public School, save in special cases, and such means 
tend to " accentuate the peculiar qualities of the instruction 
given ... of primal importance in the education of the 
public." 1 

1 Teachers may be advised to read Dr Wile's book on Sex Educa- 
tion, and also a very instructive chapter "Sex Hygiene and Sex 
Education," in Educational Hygiene, an excellent work. Edited by 
L. W. Rapeer, Professor of Education, Pennsylvania State College 
(Scribner, New York and Boston). 


Principal STANLEY HALL writes : "At Williams College, 
Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Clark, I have made it a duty 
in my departmental teaching to speak very briefly but 
plainly to young men under my instruction, personally if 
I deemed it wise, and often, though here only in general 
terms, before student bodies, and I believe I have nowhere 
done more good, but it is a painful duty. It requires tact 
and some degree of hard and strenuous common-sense 
rather than technical knowledge " (Adolescence, vol. i.). 

Miss L. M. FAITHFULL, Principal of the Ladies' College, 
Cheltenham, embodies her views in a printed Address to 
the Headmistresses of Elementary Schools in the Diocese of 
Canterbury. The Address contains several valuable sugges- 
tions. Miss Faithfull thinks that school instruction may 
lessen the parents' sense of responsibility, and she holds 
that the parent is the proper teacher. Much discretion 
must be used in imparting knowledge to girls. " Some 
girls have a natural dislike to, and a shrinking from, all 
physical details, whereas others have a spirit of curiosity 
which insists on being satisfied. A wise mother realising 
this difference in temperament between her two daughters, 
yet at the same time aware of the necessity of safeguarding 
each by an adequate knowledge of the facts of life, dealt 
with the difficulty in this way. She told one that in so far 
as she has a disinclination for such knowledge, she would 
only tell her what was absolutely necessary, while she 
made the other feel that her curiosity was natural, not in 
any way a thing to be ashamed of." 

Miss Faithfull suggests that the lady doctor may be called 
in to make up for the deficiencies of the parents. When 
opportunity occurs, as in " reading Shakespeare, in the 
physiology or history lesson, or the discussion of social or 
economic problems, the matter must not be shirked." 
The aspects of the "physical side of life" must be taught 
when necessary, but there need not be specific lessons for 
introducing the subject. 

Mrs S. PLATT, The Home School, Grindleford, Sheffield, 
who has a hundred pupils of both sexes, writes : 

"The knowledge should never be forced upon children. 
Therefore all class teaching on the subject seems to me 
totally wrong, as some of the class might be ready for the 


knowledge, and to others it would either be meaningless or 
would come as a shock. But class teaching on any subject 
is doomed to die a natural death sooner or later, and to be 
replaced by individual teaching. The teacher must guide 
and direct the child but must not force him along lines 
arbitrarily laid down. 

" It follows from the above that all teaching of botany or 
zoology which has sex teaching as a definite aim, or even 
as a side issue, is psychologically wrong. The pupil will 
learn a great deal about sex in both subjects, but the 
knowledge must come naturally through the study of the 
plant or animal by the pupil, under the guidance of 
the teacher. 

"Children should be brought up in the country, where 
they can study plants and animals in their natural 

"Boys and girls should be educated together, work 
together, play together, swim together. Unwholesome 
curiosity in either sex arises when the sexes are separate. 
The facts connected with birth are of extreme interest, 
though not to every child. Some children show no 
interest whatever in the matter. Where the ideal environ- 
ment is lacking (an environment in which boys and girls 
would naturally arrive at the truth for themselves) the 
parent and not the teacher should tell children the facts 
when they wish to know. , 

" But as, unfortunately, the beautiful facts of life are still 
regarded as impure by some, it is well to warn the child 
that the knowledge is not common property, and must not 
be talked about amongst one's companions. 

"It is my firm belief that if the natural questions of 
children were answered by their parents fully and directly, 
all ' nasty ' talk and ' nasty ' habits in school would be 
unheard of. It is the duty of teachers to urge the parents 
to answer the questions of their children ; I do not consider 
it to be the duty of any teacher or lecturer to give this 
knowledge himself. The child would rarely ask the teacher, 
and it does not come into the province of the lecturer, as 
a student is quite able to get the knowledge for himself, 
and has probably got it in some way or other long ago. 

"Finally, there is far too much teaching and talk. The 


to aim at in all schools is : (r) The best environment 
possible country life pure air co-education natural 
and healthful surroundings. (2) In the school a high ideal 
of life and conduct on the part of teacher and pupil. 

" In other words, ' atmosphere ' is everything. One can 
never get perfection, but one can aim at it." 

Miss MARION WHITE, Principal, Wilton House School, 
Reading, considers it of vital consequence to girls that they 
should be instructed in the knowledge of sex conduct and 
hygiene before they leave the shelter of school life. This 
knowledge should be givem by the mothers ; but if the mothers 
evade this responsibility, they should authorise the school- 
mistress to give the necessary instruction and counsel. 
Miss White recognises that the position of the teacher is 
made extremely difficult unless she is entirely assured that 
the parents approve of this teaching. Many school- 
mistresses who recognise the necessity for this guidance are 
afraid of giving offence to the parents of their pupils. This 
is the difficulty with which many earnest-minded teachers 
are faced. 

Miss MARGARET G. BONDFIELD, Secretary Women's 
Labour League, speaking at the Public Morals Conference, 
London, 1910, said : 

" I wonder if you can realise what it means to a girl 
in an elementary school of, say, twelve years of age to 
be introduced to a knowledge of the relation of the other 
sex by means of information, startling, vulgar, crudely 
expressed, and communicated to her by some other girl 
as ill-informed as herself. ... I have a vivid recollec- 
tion, when I attended a Board School, that the facts of sex 
were broken to me in the crudest, rudest and most vulgar 
way. I remember that for years and years the horror 
remained with me, and it was only many years after that 
I met with a good woman who had the knowledge, the tact 
and the necessary influence to be able to wipe out the nasty 
impression that had been made on my mind about the facts 
connected with the sacred transmission of life from one 
generation to another. And so I make an appeal to you 
who have had the advantage of cultured training, who have 
had yie privilege of being initiated into the mysteries of sex 
by people who could carefully choose their words, who have 


been taught the dignity and reverence of parenthood, to 
remember that the working-class woman, much as she desires 
to safeguard her child, much as she desires to send her 
into the world with a knowledge that will guide her, does 
not know how to impart that knowledge. . . . We want 
the pure and noble-minded people to see to this matter" 
(The Nation's Morals). 




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